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question everything's Journal
question everything's Journal
February 24, 2024

'Many victims' bodies found mutilated and bound, some discovered deliberately booby-trapped' (graphic)

“Many rape incidents occurred collectively, with collaboration among the perpetrating terrorists. In some cases, rape was conducted in front of an audience, such as partners, family, or friends, to increase the pain and humiliation for all present,” reads the first official report of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel regarding the Hamas attack on October 7.

“Some Hamas members pursued victims who escaped the massacre, dragging them by their hair with screams. The majority of victims were subsequently killed during or after the sexual assault.” Already in the first week following the attack, information about sexual assaults carried out during the assault began pouring into the Association of Rape Crisis Centers.

According to Dr. Carmit Klar-Chalamish and Noga Berger, the report's authors, “a significant portion of those we considered partners responded in silence and denial of these horrors. We call on you to raise your voices and not allow the cries of these victims to fade away.” The report, published Wednesday morning, analyzes dozens of classified and public pieces of information, including eyewitness and earwitness testimonies, interviews with rescue and medical teams, information cleared for publication in print and electronic media, and inquiries received by the association.


“Information regarding sexual assaults in captivity has been published following the testimonies of those who returned from captivity. These testimonies include various cases, including those of captives who are still alive.” The report indicates that sexual crimes were systematically and deliberately committed during and after the October 7 terror attack, characterized by multiple assailants, assaults in front of family members, executions and accompanied by unique sadistic practices.



January 20, 2024

"Queers for Palestine?". Maher mentioned them in his "New Rules" in search of sanity

What? was my first reaction. Gays are frowned upon even persecuted in Muslim cultures. When the secular president of Iran visited here some 15 years ago and appeared in front students and was asked about gays in Iran, he replied that there were no gays in Iran and the students just laughed.

So I went searching and found an interesting essay in a site called Queer Majority.

“Queers for Palestine and the Death of Irony” by Armin Navabi


On the surface, “Queers for Palestine” attempts to meld LGBT advocacy with Palestinian liberation, a juxtaposition that has precipitated a whirlpool of ridicule and criticism due to the fact that LGBT rights scarcely exist within the Muslim world, and the Palestinian territories are no exception. The slogan has been widely satirized with variations like “Chickens for KFC” or “Blacks for the KKK”, which highlight the basic lack of awareness of just how incompatible the values of the Western left are with the Islamic right they so readily champion.

The reality of the situation could not be more stark. Though it has much room to improve, Israel is at the forefront of LGBT rights in the Middle East. In Israel, LGBT people are visible members of society with legal protections, civil rights, and a plurality of public acceptance.

Palestine, by contrast, is quite a different story. The UCLA Williams Institute’s 2021 global report on LGBT acceptance rated Israel 44th out of the 175 countries/territories examined. Palestine came in at 130, behind Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Georgetown University likewise placed Palestine 160th out of 170 countries on their women’s peace and security index, in good company with most of the region. Amnesty International’s 2020 report on human rights highlights the criminalization of male same-sex relationships in Gaza, punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment, with a conspicuous absence of legal protections against anti-LGBT discrimination or harassment. This lack of civil rights has led hundreds of gay and bi Palestinians to flee to Israel to escape persecution. One such refugee, Ahmad Abu Marhia, a 25-year-old gay Palestinian man, was living under asylum in Israel. In 2022, he was kidnapped and beheaded in the West Bank city of Hebron. His murderers uploaded footage of the killing to social media.


Another disconcerting element of “Queers for Palestine” is that it popped up in prominent left-wing anti-Israel/pro-Palestine rallies in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s terrorist attacks, before Israel had the chance to respond. As such, there is no way to interpret this slogan and the surrounding leftist fervor except as a signal of support not merely for Palestine, but specifically for Hamas, the jihadist movement with the explicit aim of eradicating the state of Israel. It's imperative to understand that Hamas, as detailed in its 1988 Covenant, is propelled by a fundamentalist Islamist ideology with the goal not only of eliminating all Jews but also conquering the world — just like ISIS. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar was recorded saying, “The entire planet will be under our law, there will be no more Jews or Christian traitors.”



January 16, 2024

The dizzying malevolence of two days in The Hague


For over three and a half hours on Thursday, the members of the South African legal team provided grisly details of the destruction wrought in Gaza during the current war, sparked by Hamas’s barbaric assault on Israel on October 7. But mention of that infamous day was almost entirely absent from the tale the South Africans told, an unsettling oversight that only got worse as the hearing proceeded. Even more astonishing was the manner in which South Africa’s attorneys entirely failed to mention the way in which Hamas has cynically and deliberately placed Gaza’s own citizens, men and women, children and elderly, in harm’s way.

Dr. Adila Hassim for South Africa specifically referred during her oral arguments to the damage done to Gaza’s medical infrastructure, as part of Israel’s allegedly genocidal effort against the Palestinians in the territory. But incredibly, not even once did she allude to the documented manner in which Hamas has comprehensively exploited Gaza’s medical facilities as cover for its military operations, whether tunnels dug under hospitals, ambulances used to transport terrorists, or hospitals used to hold hostages.


But worse was to come when the eminent British barrister Vaughan Lowe took to the podium to outline the provisional measures South Africa has asked the court to order against Israel. Lowe, a king’s counsel and professor of international law at Oxford University, no less, declared that Israel did not even have the right to self-defense in its actions in Gaza, since, he argued, Israel controls the access points into and out of the territory. “Its actions are enforcing its occupation,” claimed Lowe, eradicating from history in one fell swoop Hamas’s atrocities of October 7, its ongoing rocket attacks against Israeli population centers, and its violations of the laws of armed conflict.


Addressing the court on Friday, legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry Dr. Tal Becker pointed out that Lowe has expressed a very different legal opinion in the past. “The right of self-defense is a right to use force to avert an attack,” Lowe wrote in a study published by the Chatham House think tank in 2005. “The source of the attack, whether a state or a non-state actor, is irrelevant to the existence of the right… Force may be used to avert a threat because no one, and no state, is obliged by law passively to suffer the delivery of an attack,” he argued then, as quoted by Becker. And yet, before the 17 judges in The Hague, Lowe had essentially asserted that one state is “obliged by law passively to suffer the delivery of an attack”: Israel.



January 14, 2024

When Terrorists Talk, They Listen - WSJ


Headquartered in Washington, Memri monitors and translates TV broadcasts, newspapers, sermons, social-media posts, textbooks and official statements in Arabic, Farsi and several other languages. The work may be drudgery, but it yields a steady stream of articles and viral video clips that condemn the region’s tyrants, terrorists and two-faced intellectuals with their own words. Memri also documents Gazans’ indoctrination from childhood into a religious ideology that puts them on a war footing. “Their textbooks are our life,” Mr. Carmon says, “but no one paid attention.” Instead, Israeli leaders were convinced that Qatari money and past beatings would deter Hamas.

On the Arabic-language channel, he says, Qatari-owned Al Jazeera “is the megaphone of Hamas like it was the megaphone of al Qaeda. Every speech, every statement—everything is aired several times until everybody gets it.” The article faults the Biden administration for “pleading with Qatar” instead of threatening it: “Just one comment by the U.S. administration that it is considering relocating Al Udeid Air Base from Qatar (without which Qatar will cease to exist within a week) to the UAE will set the Qataris running to bring all the American hostages back home.”


Take the trendy calls for a cease-fire, which is the key to a Hamas victory. Memri’s translations have furnished supporters of Israel with a knockdown reply: What good is a cease-fire when Hamas pledges to repeat its Oct. 7 massacre “again and again”? That quote is from Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas politburo member, in an Oct. 24 appearance on Lebanese television. We know about it because Memri was watching. “We will do this again and again,” Mr. Hamad says in Arabic. “The Al Aqsa Flood”—Hamas’s name for the Oct. 7 operation—“is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”


An Oct. 19 clip has Hamas leader Khaled Mashal shrugging off the suffering Hamas has brought on Gazan civilians. “Nations are not easily liberated,” he says. “The Algerian people sacrificed six million martyrs.” Hamas would gladly follow that example. Most recently, Memri has Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh declaring on Jan. 9, in a speech aired on Al Jazeera: “We should hold on to the victory that took place on Oct. 7 and build upon it.” To the West, Mr. Haniyeh demands an end to the war and even gestures at a two-state solution, but to the Arab masses he says “the time has come for the jihad of the swords.” To these videos, Memri adds only captioned translations, so that viewers draw conclusions for themselves.


Most of Memri’s American translations are of imams and scholars who are obscure to the larger public. But one that shook the White House was of Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which styles itself a mainstream, well-connected Muslim advocacy group. Mr. Awad was caught celebrating the Oct. 7 attack as an act of Gazan liberation and “self-defense.” President Biden had to remove CAIR as a partner in the White House’s Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.



January 3, 2024

John Fetterman Plays Against Type -WSJ oped


Of late, however, Mr. Fetterman has drawn the ire of the Democratic left for his unapologetic support of Israel, for his support of a bipartisan solution to the border crisis, and for his cheeky criticisms of the indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.).


Mr. Fetterman declared last week that “I would be the last man standing to be absolutely there on the Israeli side on this with no conditions.” Last month he blamed both parties for what he described as a reflexive political resistance to a border security deal. “Since you’ve covered me for years,” he says, “you know me, and you know my wife, and I’ve been very clear and supportive of immigration; I think it’s been part of what has made America, America.” Mr. Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, was 7 when her Brazilian mother brought her to the U.S. illegally. She naturalized in 2009.

“Two things can be true at the same time,” the senator continues. “We do have a crisis on the border—and we have to look at the numbers that are the size of Pittsburgh showing up on the border. You can’t just say, ‘Oh yeah, OK. It’ll all work itself out.’ ” He sees border security as a matter of common sense: “I think if you really want to address immigration in the way that it deserves, we first must also have a secure border.”

Since becoming mayor of Braddock in 2006, Mr. Fetterman has often bucked the local and state Democratic Party. In 2016, he ran in a U.S. Senate primary against eventual nominee Katie McGinty. He supported Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton that year and made party officials cringe when he warned that Donald Trump could win Pennsylvania in that year’s general election—as he did. “Anyone that spent time across Pennsylvania would have realized how popular he was and how he connected at a very deep level,” Mr. Fetterman now says.


Mr. Fetterman is proud that he acknowledged his depression publicly: “I realize now that addressing mental health is really critical because I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and thank me for talking about it, and they have their own personal issue,” he says. “I’ve never been afraid of being judged. My only interest is really trying to help people—because I got lucky and I was able to get the kind of help that I needed. I want that kind of help for anybody—I don’t care, Republican, Democrat, anyone.”



December 31, 2023

Hamas is succeeding at playing the West for fools - The Telegraph

This week, the former hostage Mia Schem gave her first television interview. The 21-year-old French-Israeli tattoo artist described how she had been shot, groped and dragged into Gaza by her hair, where she was operated upon by a vet without anaesthetic and kept like an animal in a zoo. “I went through a holocaust,” she said. This was not the first time her voice had been heard. Before her release at the beginning of December, she had appeared in a Hamas video parroting propaganda. “People very good, very kind to me,” she had said with fear evident in her eyes.


This grim vignette is emblematic of how the West has been played by Hamas. In a climate of Israelophobia, morality has been turned on its head. Hamas attempts an act of genocide, yet that same crime is pinned on Israel. Hamas butchers hundreds of innocents, yet Israel gets the blame.

The terrorists know exactly what they are doing. For years, they have dealt with UN officials, NGO representatives and the international media. They understand the Weltanschauung of such circles. They know that they need only enable a supply of videos of civilian casualties and the credulous journalists, sneering diplomats, jihadi sympathisers and useful idiots will do the rest.


For Hamas, every innocent casualty is a victory. As far back as 2008, it was collaborating with Iranian planners to design hospitals and schools that could hold missiles. The logic is simple: the martyrs live on in Heaven, the media broadcasts heartrending footage, and the world ratchets up pressure for a ceasefire. Then October 7 can be planned again.



December 27, 2023

Opinion Harvard's Claudine Gay should resign - Ruth Marcus

She plagiarized her acknowledgments. I take no joy in saying this, but Harvard President Claudine Gay ought to resign. Her track record is unbefitting the president of the country’s premier university. Remaining on the job would send a bad signal to students about the gravity of her conduct.

This was not my original instinct. I thought, and continue to believe, that Gay’s accusers and their allies were motivated more by conservative ideology and the desire to score points against the most elite of institutions than by any commitment to academic rigor. This was, and is, accompanied by no small dose of racism and the conviction that a Black woman couldn’t possibly be qualified to lead Harvard. In addition, the initial reports of plagiarism seemed small-bore. Gay’s missteps did not seem to involve sweeping appropriations of carefully crafted words or thoughtful ideas but a failure to put mostly boilerplate language inside quotation marks.


In her 1997 doctoral dissertation, for example, Gay quoted from a paper by Bradley Palmquist and D. Stephen Voss, then her colleagues in the Harvard political science department, about turnout rates among Black voters. “This is one sign that the data contain little aggregation bias,” they wrote. “If racial turnout rates changed depending upon a precinct’s racial mix, which is one description of bias, a linear form would be unlikely in a simple scatter plot (resulting only when changes in one race’s turnout rate somehow compensated for changes in the other’s across the graph.)” Gay’s dissertation — which nowhere cites Palmquist and Voss — contains nearly identical language. “This is one sign that the data contain little aggregation bias,” she wrote. “If racial turnout rates changed depending upon a precinct’s racial mix, which is one way to think about bias, a linear form would be unlikely in a simple scatter plot. A linear form would only result if the changes in one race’s turnout were compensated by changes in the turnout of the other race across the graph.”


Perhaps the most disturbing example is the least academic — Gay’s borrowing of words from another scholar, Jennifer L. Hochschild. In her acknowledgments for a 1996 book, Hochschild described a mentor who “showed me the importance of getting the data right and of following where they lead without fear or favor” and “drove me much harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.” Gay’s dissertation thanked her thesis adviser, who “reminded me of the importance of getting the data right and following where they lead without fear or favor,” and her family, who “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

Now, can I just say? Acknowledgments are the easiest, and most fun part, of writing a book, the place where you list your sources and allies and all the people who helped you get the manuscript over the finish line. Why not come up with your own thanks? What does it say about a person who chooses to appropriate another’s language for this most personal task?




December 21, 2023

Fetterman, Breaking With the Left on Israel, Rejects 'Progressive' Label - NYT

In April 2022, during his Senate primary campaign in Pennsylvania, John Fetterman spoke enthusiastically about his unqualified support for Israel and said he did not consider himself a “progressive” when it came to his views on the Jewish state.

“Whenever I’m in a situation to be called on to take up the cause of strengthening and enhancing the security of Israel or deepening our relationship between the United States and Israel, I’m going to lean in,” Mr. Fetterman, then the lieutenant governor, told Jewish Insider at the time. When it came to far-left Democrats who harshly criticized Israel, he added, “I would also respectfully say that I’m not really a progressive in that sense.”

So as the left has turned against Mr. Fetterman in recent weeks, branding him #GenocideJohn for his unequivocal support of Israel’s fierce retaliation against Hamas in response to the group’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, the senator has dug in.


Mr. Fetterman has rejected calls for a cease-fire, filled the walls of the hallway outside his Senate office with photos of the hostages taken by Hamas, draped himself in an Israeli flag and even waved one provocatively in the face of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. A large Israeli flag even hangs on the wall behind his desk, positioned to be visible in his Zoom shots. In forcefully inserting himself into an issue that has exposed a deep divide in the Democratic Party as the death toll in Gaza has risen, Mr. Fetterman has shattered any lasting perception that he is a progressive warrior in lock step with the left.



December 14, 2023

Promoting a Palestine from the River to the Sea (even if not sure which river and which sea)


This concept will clearly eliminate Israel. The promoters do not detail what will happen to the current Israelis but they really do not want to be bothered by details, see above.

But we can envision a Palestine "from the River to the Sea" looking at Gaza which became independent in 2006.

The election that led to Hamas taking over Gaza - WaPo


A core part of this talking point lies in what happened close to two decades ago. In 2006, the Palestinian political entity operating in the West Bank and Gaza staged elections. Little did observers know that it would be the last vote allowed by the Palestinian Authority, led then, as it is now, by President Mahmoud Abbas. The vote took place in the aftermath of a turbulent series of events: the fiery years of the second intifada, the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and the 2005 Israeli withdrawal of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip.

The election yielded a shock victory for Hamas, which won the most seats with some 44 percent of the vote. Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, which advocates for rapprochement and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, recently observed that in no single district in Gaza did Hamas win a majority of votes.


“Mostly, they were voting for opposition and voting against Fatah — against corruption, against nepotism, against the failure of the peace process, and against the lack of leadership,” Mustafa Barghouti, an outspoken, independent Palestinian politician then and now, told CNN at the time.

That analysis was echoed by a conspicuous onlooker. President George W. Bush had pushed for Palestinian elections, in part as an outgrowth of his administration’s ideological zeal for spreading democracy in the Middle East through whatever means necessary. As Hamas’s victory became clear, Bush said the vote reflected Palestinians’ disenchantment with their prevailing leadership, who had been elected a decade prior in the wake of the signing of the Oslo accords.


What, then, happened after the elections? This report is from the Human Rights Watch from June 2007

Gaza: Armed Palestinian Groups Commit Grave Crimes

During recent fighting in the Gaza Strip, armed Palestinian groups have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, in some cases amounting to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today.

In internal Palestinian fighting over the last three days, both Fatah and Hamas military forces have summarily executed captives, killed people not involved in hostilities, and engaged in gun battles with one another inside and near Palestinian hospitals. On Saturday, armed Palestinians from Islamic Jihad and the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade used a vehicle with a “TV” insignia to attack an Israeli military position on the border with Gaza.


On Sunday, Hamas military forces captured 28-year-old Muhammad Swairki, a cook for President Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential guard, and executed him by throwing him to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City. Later that night, Fatah military forces shot and captured Muhammad al-Ra’fati, a Hamas supporter and mosque preacher, and threw him from a Gaza City high-rise apartment building. On Monday, Hamas military forces attacked the home in Beit Lahiya of Jamal Abu al-Jadiyan, a senior Fatah official, captured him, and executed him on the street with multiple gunshots. On Tuesday, there were reports of additional killings of individuals not involved in hostilities.

In addition, Fatah and Hamas forces engaged in battles in and around two Gaza Strip hospitals on Monday. After Hamas fighters killed Fatah intelligence officer Yasir Bakar, Fatah gunmen began firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, drawing Hamas fire from inside the building, killing one Hamas and one Fatah fighter. At a hospital in Beit Hanun, three family members with ties to Fatah, `Id al-Masri and his sons, Farij and Ibrahim, were killed, and others wounded. Hospital officials reported that the three were being treated for injuries sustained earlier. One was reportedly shot at close range.



This is not a whatabout. This is a realistic vision of what will take place in the "concept" of From the River to the Sea.

Back to my earlier comment: what will happen to the Israelis currently residing in the area by the sea?

We know what happened in one day

Brutality of Hamas attack seen at Israel morgue


So, go ahead, keep chanting for a "Free Palestine" but, if you care, and dare, read what you are promoting.

December 7, 2023

Accounts of Sexual Violence by Hamas Are Aired Amid Criticism of U.N. - NYT (Graphic)

The body of one woman had “nails and different objects in her female organs.” In another house, a person’s genitals were so mutilated that “we couldn’t identify if it was a man or a woman.” Simcha Greinman, a volunteer who helped collect the remains of victims of the Hamas-led Oct. 7 assault on Israel, took long pauses as he spoke those words on Monday at an event at the United Nations. “Horrific things I saw with my own eyes,” he said, “and I felt with my own hands.”

Shari Mendes, a member of an Israeli military reserve unit tasked with preparing the bodies of fallen female soldiers for burial, said her team saw several who were killed on Oct. 7 “who were shot in the crotch, intimate parts, vagina, or were shot in the breast.” Others had mutilated faces, or multiple gunshots to their heads. Since the Oct. 7 attack, during which more than 1,200 people were killed and some 240 people were kidnapped, Israeli officials have accused the terrorists of also committing widespread sexual violence — rape and sexual mutilation — particularly against women.

Yet those atrocities have received little scrutiny from human rights groups, or the news media, amid the larger war between Israel and Hamas — and until a few days ago, they had not been specifically mentioned or condemned by UN Women, the United Nations’ women’s rights agency, which has regularly spoken out about the plight of Palestinian women and girls.

Israelis and many Jews around the world say they feel abandoned by an international social justice community — women’s groups, human rights groups, liberal celebrities, among others — whose causes they have supported in crises around the world. On Monday, some 800 people, including women’s activists and diplomats representing about 40 countries, crowded into a chamber at U.N. headquarters in New York for a presentation laying out the evidence of large-scale sexual violence, with testimony from witnesses like Ms. Mendes and Mr. Greinman.


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