Rising death toll: Overnight, the number of deaths in Israel and Gaza rose to roughly 2,200, following Hamas’ surprise attack on southern Israel this past weekend that resulted in the massacre of civilians. In addition, more than 150 foreign nationals who had been traveling or living in Israel are dead or missing.
This includes at least 40 Americans (20 dead, more than 20 missing), 29 Thais (18 dead, 11 missing), 17 missing or dead Brits, 10 missing or dead Nepalese, 22 missing or dead Argentines, 17 missing or dead French, two missing or dead Ukrainians, three missing or dead Austrians, and four missing or dead Canadians. Several Germans, French, Argentines, and Americans have been taken hostage but exact numbers are hard to come by.
In the weeds: More information has come out about how Hamas carried out this past weekend’s attack, which caught Israeli forces off guard. On Saturday, Hamas “appeared to destroy communications towers close to the Gaza border key to Israel’s defense,” reports The New York Times.
Israel is now being hit from all sides. While this has all been happening on the southern front, the northern front also erupted: yesterday, missiles were launched from Syria and Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah have taken responsibility. Missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome, Israel’s air defense system.
Israel has responded by bombing Hezbollah, and is continuing to bomb the Gaza Strip. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says a ground offensive will be launched in Gaza, and authorities there say a “humanitarian crisis” is imminent, as the power plant reportedly ran out of fuel around 2 p.m. local time, several hours ago. Doctors Without Borders has said that Al-Shifa, the main hospital in Gaza, only has about three days’ worth of fuel, and that antibiotics, surgical equipment, and other supplies are close to being exhausted.
At least 250,000 Gazans have been displaced. Israeli forces have started warning whole neighborhoods—not just individual buildings—when an attack is coming, and entire sections of Gaza City have been razed.
American chaos: Not only do we currently have no speaker of the House, but we also do not have an ambassador to Israel. President Joe Biden’s nominee, Jack Lew, must be hastily pushed through the Senate confirmation process, which will most likely happen next week.
Lew, who served under President Bill Clinton as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), developed “the memorandum of understanding at OMB on multiyear funding for Israel and worked to sustain it during the Obama administration.” And, per an unnamed White House official, he also “worked to provide ‘crucial funding’ for Israeli missile defense systems to protect citizens from attacks,” per NBC News. “The American ambassador to NATO said on Tuesday that U.S. military assistance to Israel after the weekend attacks by Hamas assailants would not come at Ukraine’s expense,” reports The New York Times. (Instead, it will come at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.)
American insanity: Black Lives Matter’s Chicago affiliate used Hamas paragliders—the ones who slaughtered 260-plus teens and young adults at a music festival—in their poster art expressing that they “stand with Palestine.” Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter proclaims that “when a people have been subject to decades of apartheid and unimaginable violence, their resistance must not be condemned, but understood as a desperate act of self-defense.”
These groups are grafting their understanding of domestic race relations and colonizer/colonized narratives onto Israel and Palestine, which simply does not work. Celebrating the murderous paragliders of Hamas—a terrorist group that keeps Gazans entrenched in deep poverty, by the way—isn’t the same as communicating opposition to the state of Israel. There are no easy answers here, but it is actually quite easy to avoid using barbaric killers as your graphic design motif.
“When a political group is dogmatic to the extreme, there is no limit to the horrors they will condone and justify for their cause—no ability to depart from those they consider on their team, no matter what it is their teammates are doing: kidnapping children, killing kids in front of their parents, massacring hundreds at a concert, whatever,” writes Tim Urban on Twitter.
Scenes from New York:
The folksy “hi y’all” and the candy corn and the “spooky” lettering, it’s really all too insane, you’d think it was a parody:
The elected student president of the NYU Law School Bar Association just sent out a message refusing to condemn Hamas’s mass slaughter and effectively cheerleading it. pic.twitter.com/mtn3ZUP4Li
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) October 10, 2023
The person seemingly responsible for sending out this statement ended up getting their big law job offer from Winston & Strawn LLP revoked. I tend to oppose cancel culture wherever it strikes (but support the rights of private employers to decide who they want to hire and fire), so my rough take is that law firms should probably vet people more aggressively during the hiring process if they’re sensitive to campus-activist drivel. But there’s also a question of whether a junior hire’s thoughts on Hamas have any bearing on their ability to do their job well; we ostensibly work with plenty of people who believe wrong or immoral things but have the good sense to keep them quiet in a professional environment.
Nor was this person a public figure whose words would have any sort of lasting impact or great influence—instead, these public statements from college students, DSA groups, and BLM come together to form a tour d’horizon of where the far left is going, and how simplistic American race relations narratives fall embarrassingly short. (A related cancel culture take—this one on the porn star Mia Khalifa—here, from Reason‘s Robby Soave.)
- “The founder of the anti-trafficking group OUR has been sued by several accusers, who say he used their faith and visions from a psychic to sexually coerce them,” reports Vice‘s Anna Merlan.
- Wearing a scarlet letter—as Rep. Nancy Mace (R–S.C.) did, in reference to criticism she received for her vote to oust the speaker of the House—doesn’t really make sense.
- Did Rep. George Santos (R–N.Y.) commit credit card fraud?
- Twitter has been full of profoundly insane takes from Extremely Online leftists. Oliver Traldi’s tweet nicely sums it up:
not much surprises me but i’ve been taken aback by the almost literal bullet-biting of “if a Native American wanted to murder me i would just have to say ‘well played’ and die” people have been doing on here
— Oliver Traldi (@olivertraldi) October 9, 2023
- More than 4,000 autoworkers at three General Motors plants in Canada went on strike yesterday, citing issues with pay and benefits in contract negotiations. More than 9,000 GM workers are currently on strike in the U.S. over similar negotiation disputes.
- “Within the first 15 minutes of her testimony, Ms. Ellison repeatedly blamed Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, for crimes that led to FTX’s implosion,” reports The New York Times.
- Incredible account of a 62-year-old grandfather who fought off Hamas, rescuing a bunch of people—including his own family, who was in hiding.
- In Ohio, pro-lifers and pro-choicers are anxiously watching the fate of an abortion referendum, which could be a “bellwether for 2024,” says Politico. (For more on Ohio’s referendum, see Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s coverage here. For more on abortion and libertarianism, go here.)
- A sailor in the U.S. Navy was “arrested on national security charges pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring with a Chinese intelligence officer and receiving a bribe,” Axios reports.