Weekend long read

1) Writing at Newsweek, Shany Mor argues that ‘Israel’s New Government Is a Rebuke of Left-Wing Nonsense’.

“If there is one picture that speaks to the emptiness of the progressive vilification of Israeli society and Israeli democracy, it is the group portrait of Israel’s new cabinet.

In the photo, twenty-seven ministers are arrayed around President Reuven Rivlin. They range in age from 37 to 74. Nine are women. One sits in a wheelchair. It might be hard to see in the photo, but three are observant Jewish men with yarmulkes on their heads. Two are Arabs, one Druze and one Muslim. Five are immigrants, born in Ethiopia, Morocco, and the former Soviet Union.

It’s worth emphasizing that this astonishingly diverse cabinet isn’t assembled, in the style of a U.S. President’s cabinet, under the direction of one leader who might (or might not) be trying to present an image of diversity. These ministers are the top parliamentarians of the parties that entered the coalition. They are not there because of tacky tokenism or pressure from what Bill Clinton famously called “the bean counters.” They are diverse because the Israelis are diverse, and they are picked from a diverse parliament because the Israelis elected a diverse parliament.”

2) At the Times of Israel, Haviv Retting Gur explains how Israel’s new government is a product of prior legislation.

“In a sense, Lapid and Bennett have forged not one government but two. In a “parity government,” half the cabinet is wholly controlled by Lapid, half by Bennett. Neither can pass any significant decision, from going to war to restructuring some agency of government, without the other.

Prime Minister Bennett is a first among equals in a way former prime minister Netanyahu never was. […] He must negotiate Israel’s geopolitical environment in close cooperation with Defense Minister Gantz and Foreign Minister Lapid, knowing that the latter has a veto over any major decision he makes on both domestic and foreign policy. And when Lapid’s turn as prime minister comes around, Bennett knows he’ll have the very same veto powers.”

3) Yossi Kuperwasser analyses ‘Hamas’ Goals, Strategy, and Miscalculations’ at the JCPA.

“Hamas was ready to take the leading role in this arena following the announced elections to the Palestinian parliament scheduled for May 22, 2021. It was prepared to accept all of Mahmoud Abbas’ conditions regarding the elections, knowing that the rift inside Fatah would guarantee Hamas’ victory. However, when Abbas realized the inevitable outcome of the elections in Hamas’ favor, he decided to postpone or abort them, using as an excuse Israel’s expected refusal to allow the Palestinians in east Jerusalem to participate in the elections. Hamas was frustrated but at the same time identified the opportunity that this show of weakness from Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah presented, and Hamas planned to take advantage of it.

As always, the easiest way to mobilize the masses and justify terror activity was Jerusalem. The old libel that the “al Aqsa Mosque is in danger” was raised again in tandem with disinformation about an imminent court decision regarding a few housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.”

4) The INSS provides a study of ‘Contemporary Antisemitism in the Political Discourse of Five Western European Countries’.

“The findings indicate that some politicians in Western Europe—on both the right and the left—deliberately and maliciously use antisemitic ideas and expressions for political gains. This can be seen in the context of the increasing strength of extremist and populist parties on both sides of the political spectrum, which have contaminated the political and public discourse with antisemitic statements and attitudes.

Indeed, the present analysis indicates that the scale is tipping toward those who espouse antisemitism and away from those who try to moderate it, particularly given the process of sociopolitical radicalization, growing polarization, and the rise of once marginalized extremists at the expense of the moderate center. These processes have been accelerated by social media, which has been exploited to spread hateful content almost without any significant limits, at least for the time being.”

5) On June 23rd UKLFI will hold a webinar on the topic of ‘Proportionality in Armed Conflict’.

“The rule of proportionality in armed conflict is widely misunderstood and frequently misrepresented in criticisms of Israel. Some people wrongly assume that military actions are “disproportionate” if they result in more casualties than those suffered by the country whose army is conducting them. But the rule of customary international law is quite different: it is that an attack should not be launched if it may be expected to cause civilian casualties or damage to civilian objects which would be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage.

In this webinar, Professor Geoffrey Corn, a leading expert on the subject, will discuss the application of the rule and other pertinent issues of the law of armed conflict with UKLFI Charitable Trust’s Legal Director, Natasha Hausdorff. The webinar will include Q&A.”

Registration here.

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