2023: What a Year for the Jewish World
From Anne Frank’s diary becoming "porn in Texas" to the goody two-shoes Vladimir Putin blasting Israel for its campaign against Hamas, 2023 was special, to say the least.
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What an unreal, surreal and, at the same time, very real year 2023 was.
“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” was banned in many U.S. schools and libraries, with one reporter facetiously noting that “Anne Frank’s diary became porn in Texas.”1
A sad-yet-funny joke made its rounds online of an image divided into squares, resembling a CAPTCHA — the Israeli-invented internet test designed to differentiate humans from robots — depicted the members of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly elected cabinet. The caption read, “Select the squares in which people who have been indicted appear.” The correct answer was half of them.
During the year, Netanyahu and his extremist right-wing government tried to advance their controversial judicial reform program, which Israeli president Isaac Herzog warned could lead to civil war.
Then Hamas actually waged war against Israel on October 7th. I woke up that Saturday to not one but two rocket alarms blaring across Tel Aviv, first at 7 in the morning and then again a couple of hours later. But what shocked me even more was just how fast people’s “thoughts and prayers for Israel” turned into mutually exclusive sympathy for the “poor Palestinians.”
A newish political faction called “progressives,” who have an obsessive preoccupation with their and other people’s pronouns, have become so intoxicated by the “pro-Palestinian” hoopla, they’ve become blinded to the reality that, for the vast majority of them, their pronouns in the Palestinian territories would be “was” and “were.” And “Gays for Gaza” evidently didn’t hear the running joke that there aren’t enough tall buildings in the Gaza Strip from which to throw them off.
“There’s no shame in being ignorant,” wrote Ron Hassner in the Wall Street Journal, “unless one is screaming for the extermination of millions.”
Meanwhile, a German day care center suddenly changed its name from “Anne Frank” to “World Explorer” amid the Israel-Hamas war, saying they wanted a name without a “political background.” Only in 2023 could Anne Frank range from pornographic to political.
The UN also went off the deep-end, starting with its hard-to-look-at Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who thought it was crucial, just a few weeks after one of the worst terror attacks in recent memory, to remind us that Hamas’ massacre and mass kidnappings “did not happen in a vacuum.”
UN Women and other “feminist” organizations, which have automatically accepted all women’s claims against physical and sexual abuse worldwide, failed to say anything about the women who were so obviously and barbarically exploited during the Palestinian attacks in Israel on October 7th. Gang rape, mutilation, sadism, and murder. But as long as it’s in the name of Allah, these organizations apparently have no problem making an exception.
UN Women deputy chief Sarah Douglas scrubbed her account after the organization UN Watch exposed her endorsement of 153 anti-Israel tweets. Angelina Jolie, who appeared at so many major UN events to talk against sexual violence as a weapon of war, has been silent about Israeli women.
Instead, the UN has issued all types of explosive warnings about the situation in Gaza, from “grave peril” to “rapid deterioration.” It even described the strip’s conditions as “apocalyptic.” No one is pretending that Gaza is especially pristine right now, but abusing hyperbole for the sake of defending terrorism feels a bit much, don’t you think?
South Africa apparently doesn’t agree. The desperately irrelevant country just submitted an application to the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the UN, declaring that Israel’s operations against Hamas “are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent … to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial, and ethnical group.” I guess I missed the time when South Africa also accused the U.S. of genocide when it and other countries went after ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.
Then there’s the infamous UN Security Council. As it was trying to formulate a passable resolution within the context of the Israel-Hamas war, Canada offered an amendment — to “unequivocally reject and condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on October 7th, 2023 and the taking of hostages” — but it failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to be adopted.
Recently, 81 trucks of aid entered Gaza in a single day, and the UN called this volume “woefully inadequate.” But one of the UN’s agencies, the World Food Programme, confirmed that 12 of the 13 aid bottlenecks depend on the UN.2 There’s a word for blaming your own problems on the Jews: antisemitism.
Like when Palestinian authorities reported early in the war that Israel attacked a hospital, killing some 500 people. The joke was not that Palestinian terrorists kill their own people and then manipulate these tragedies into an anti-Israel blood libel, but that somehow the Palestinians are the only people on Earth who can count 500 dead bodies in just a few minutes.
Many university administrators have not said anything (or anything meaningful) about the attack on Israel — on Jews, mostly — and the blatant antisemitism, both in rhetoric and in action, that has subsequently erupted on their campuses. But then we learned that at least 200 American colleges and universities illegally withheld information on approximately $13 billion in undisclosed contributions from foreign regimes, many of which are authoritarian.
Heads of some of the world’s most “prestigious” universities had a hard time rebuking hate speech against Jews on their campuses, contending at a U.S. Congress hearing that it “depends on the context.”
“When speech crosses into conduct, we take action,” Harvard University president Claudine Gay said.
But if a punch hurts and harms, so can words. Or at least certain types of words. At Harvard, “fatphobia” constitutes violence and “using wrong pronouns” is considered abuse, but “globalize the intifada” requires context.
College campuses have become combat zones, with administrators unable to deliver studious recommendations. Ironically, “safety first” has been the rationale that many universities are using to dismiss professors, except for those who support calling for the genocide of Jews. Then, the decision is “context-dependent.” But hey, school is cool, kids!
Kamala Harris, the U.S. vice president who is married to a Jewish man, can’t seem to say the word “antisemitism” unless she groups it in the same sentence with Islamophobia. Amid soaring antisemitism in the U.S. against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war, Harris found the gall to spiritlessly unveil an anti-Islamophobia strategy — just one day after the FBI director told senators that antisemitism is reaching “historic levels” in the U.S.
Doug Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Harris, used this past Chanukah to tell a completely inaccurate, politically manufactured story about the Jewish holiday, writing on social media: “In the Hanukkah story, the Jewish people were forced into hiding. No one thought they would survive or that the few drops of oil they had would last. But they survived and the oil kept burning. In these dark times, I think of that story.”
The actual story is that the Maccabees, a small band of Jewish fighters, liberated the Land of Israel from the Syrian Greeks who occupied it and sought to impose their Hellenistic culture, which many Jews found attractive. In these dark times of Jewish death by assimilation, I think of this story.
Over in the UK, critics say cops aren’t enforcing the law fairly. Cops say they are scared to. Suella Braverman, Britain’s home secretary who oversees security and immigration, accused London’s Metropolitan Police force of a “double standard,” saying “pro-Palestinian mobs” go “largely ignored.”
Tim Cruddas, a former sergeant with the Metropolitan Police, said its young police officers have been given a lot of “social justice-style training” and are “obsessed with policing the internet and policing what people are putting on Twitter.”
Braverman was eventually fired, and a pro-Palestinian protest took place on Remembrance Day, Britain’s version of Memorial Day, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War. If this wasn’t one big “F you” to the UK and its history, I don’t know what is.
In Sweden, the world’s favorite quasi-activist, Greta Thunberg, made a head-scratching attempt at drawing a connection between “climate justice” and the Palestinians’ plight. Whoever is behind her knows very well how this game is played: dumbing down convoluted, nuanced topics; ignoring historical context; and hysterical people screaming through megaphones: “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”
Frankly, it’s about time someone tells her that when the stakes are so high, we cannot afford to play silly games and pretend that children (especially those who drop out of school) are actually smarter than adults.
Humanitarian organizations have also joined the fray, becoming mouthpieces and servants for the Palestinians, rather than doing what they were set up to do with the billions of dollars they receive: vital humanitarian work, regardless of politics. The International Red Cross has adopted an overwhelmingly skewed approach to the Israel-Hamas war, even though their website homepage says: “On the ground in over 90 countries — neutral, impartial, and independent.” It seems their web developer forgot to add the asterisk that clarifies: “Except when it comes to the Jews, of course.”
On October 17th, the International Red Cross promoted the aforementioned Palestinian fake news that Israel attacked and “destroyed” Al-Ahli hospital, saying it was “shocked and horrified” that “hundreds were killed,” including patients “killed in a hospital bed,” and doctors “losing their lives trying to save others.” None of this was remotely true, but the organization never corrected its misinformation.
Further research shows that Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, President of the International Red Cross, previously served as a senior adviser for the UN Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees and Refugees (UNRWA). You know, the agency whose workers and students have openly identified with Hamas, and some of whom are even members of the Nukhba Force (the elite Hamas unit that led the massacre).
Beginning in 1982, UNRWA (which to this day remains the world’s only refugee agency dedicated to a specific population) expanded the definition of a Palestinian refugee to include every generation of descendants. In other words, even the great-grandchild of a refugee is also considered a refugee. As a result, in its 74-year existence, the number of UNRWA beneficiaries has grown from 700,000 refugees, to almost six million by 2022.
But these are merely points of a much greater problem: UNRWA has become a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, serving entities and people who have no interest in seeing it resolved. The organization knows that if Hamas loses control, the world will learn many dirty secrets. Hence why they and many other NGOs are all so desperate for a ceasefire.
These organizations are practically aided and abetted by “reputable” media outlets like the New York Times, which has become less a reporter of this conflict and more a supporting actor in it.
On Christmas Eve just a few days ago, the New York Times published an op-ed by Gaza City’s mayor, an appointee of Hamas. You know, the world-renowned terrorist group that has governed Gaza for 17 years, but has built zero schools, zero universities, zero hospitals, zero research institutions, zero factories, and zero public infrastructure.
Still, the newspaper defends giving Hamas a platform as important to shed more light on the most extreme corners of the world. Influential left-wing columnists and editors coax reporters into interviewing operatives from Hamas’ “political” wing, but you’d have to be an idiot to not tell the difference between “political” Hamas and “military” Hamas. Spoiler: There is none.
Yet somehow these “highly educated” reporters have a hard time deciphering the manipulative linguistic gymnastics that Hamas consciously created for the purpose of deception, and they seem to think there is something else besides genocidal, jihadist ideology that could explain the terror group’s perversions.
Speaking of perversions, thousands of Palestinians and their supporters just tried to convince us, in time for Christmas, that Jesus Christ was a “Palestinian prophet” and “being Christian is to stand with the oppressed in Palestine” — because acknowledging that Jesus was a Jew means acknowledging Jews lived in Judea thousands of years ago, which means acknowledging Jewish indigenousness way before Arabs from Arabia migrated to and Arabicized the Levant, which means acknowledging Jewish rights in this land — a big turn-off for Jew haters, anti-Zionists, and terrorist sympathizers. But sure, Jesus was Palestinian and history doesn’t matter.
Ostensibly, neither does the global economy, which the Houthis, who much of the world had previously never heard of, decided to threaten by targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea. International responses to this threat have been slow to say the least, reportedly prompting Netanyahu to tell Biden something to the effect of: “If you don’t do something about the Houthis, I will.”
But the Houthis are just a code name, along with Hezbollah and Hamas, for the Islamic Republic of Iran, something the West seems allergic to calling out. In dealing with the ayatollahs, Western leaders have made the same mistake that Israel made with Hamas: hoping that jihadists could be paid off to abandon their hegemonic visions.
As professor Bernard Lewis said: “Mutually assured deterrence for the Iranian regime is not deterrence, but an incentive.”3 But the Biden administration has gone out of its way to reinstate the Iranian nuclear deal, effectively telling the Iranians that they no longer have anything to fear by flagrantly violating the previous deal’s terms.
Iran’s friends, Russia and Turkey, have come out of the woodwork to preach morality, with the Turkish president saying the systematic slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust was not as bad as Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. Mind you, this is the same Turkish president who commits genocide against the Kurds, and who relentlessly imprisons journalists opposing his rule.
The goody two-shoes Vladimir Putin has blasted Israel for employing “cruel methods” in its campaign against Hamas, while he wages an indiscriminate war in Ukraine, packed with war crimes upon war crimes, going on two years now.
Naturally, though, Russia and Turkey are among the few nefarious countries which support Hamas — alongside Iran, Qatar, and North Korea — but few people succeed in identifying the pattern here.
And then there are the so-called Jewish “anti-Zionists.” A few weeks ago, on multiple calls with Jewish communal professionals, some argued: “We need to hold space in the Jewish community for Jews who are struggling in this moment because they don’t support Israel.”4 Someone should tell them loud and clear: No, no we don’t.
As the clock struck midnight across Israel, ringing in 2024, Palestinian terrorists fired some 27 rockets at millions of Israeli civilians. “New year, same Hamas terrorism,” the Israel Defense Forces wrote in a social media post.
Even though Israel’s air defense systems regularly intercept these rockets, every single one is fired with the goal of murdering Jews, because Jew-killing is the most popular Palestinian pastime.
“They choose their celebrities by how many Jews they killed. They finance those who kill Jews more than they do anything else,” wrote investigative journalist David Collier. “Until the world wakes up and realizes this is the real problem, nothing will change.”5
And with that, I wish you a happy new year.
Ben Collins on X
COGAT on X
“The Iran Delusion.” The Free Press.
“Replace American Jewish Communal Leadership.” Tablet.
David Collier on X