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Bibi vows “Never Again is now”

​Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with naval commandos and fighters who took part in the combat mission in Gaza on Oct 29, 2023.

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with naval commandos and fighters who took part in the combat mission in Gaza on Oct 29, 2023.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

As Israel ramped up its military campaign against Hamas this weekend in response to the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israeli soldiers were in the second stage of the war with ground troops entering Gaza. The goals, he said, are: “to destroy Hamas’ governing and military capabilities and to bring the hostages home.”

Referencing the cautionary slogan that emerged after the Holocaust, when six million Jews perished at the hand of the Nazis and their collaborators, he added, “We always said, Never Again. Never Again is now.” By Monday, Israeli tanks were approaching the outskirts of Gaza City.

International criticism of Israel’s Gaza campaign, meanwhile, is growing. At a massive demonstration in Istanbul in honor of Turkey’s centenary on Saturday, for example, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “We will declare Israel a war criminal” and called Hamas militants “freedom fighters.” In response, Israel withdrew its diplomats.

At the United Nations the day before, an amendment put forward by Canada to condemn Hamas for its atrocities and call for the release of all hostages failed to obtain the two-thirds vote necessary for passage. The amendment would have been added to a motion calling for a truce and suspension of hostilities in Gaza, the end of evacuation orders, and the granting of full and unimpeded access to UN relief workers in the area. After the vote, Israel’s representative, Gilad Menashe Erdan, said the world has witnessed that the UN “no longer holds even one ounce of legitimacy or relevance.”

Since the Oct. 7 attacks, the world has seen a shocking surge in hate crimes against Jews and Muslims, making members of both communities feel vulnerable. In the US, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center noted that they have “seen an increase in reports of threats against faith communities, particularly Jewish and Muslim communities.” In one instance, violence led to tragedy when a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy was killed in Chicago a week after the Hamas attacks.

Pro- and anti-Israel protests have been held on US college campuses – from California to NYC – and in state capitals around the globe. In Dagestan, Russia, a mob stormed an airport this weekend in search of Jewish passengers after a flight arrived from Tel Aviv.

Antisemitism in the US, which was already on the rise, has seen a nearly 400% rise since Oct. 7 compared to the same period last year, according to the ADL.

“Antisemitism is the oldest, longest, most enduring, most toxic, and most lethal of hatreds,” said chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights and longtime Canadian government official Irwin Cotler. Combatting it, he noted, requires “... a whole-of-government approach and a whole-of-society approach” – something he said is lacking.

In some places, politicians and celebrities are calling out antisemitism and denouncing hate crimes – and we’re seeing the debate hit the presidential campaign trail. Former President Donald Trump, while speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership summit on Saturday, for example, accused President Joe Biden of turning “a blind eye to the greatest outbreak of antisemitism in American history.”

We’ll be watching to see how Israel’s isolation on the world stage impacts its Gaza campaign, and how political squabbles over Israel play out in the US presidential race.


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