Mr. Blinken, please shut up and go home.
On Friday U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel for the fourth time during the Israel-Hamas war, while continuing a pattern of statements full of empty and frankly meaningless clichés.
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On October 12th, just five days after the unspeakable Palestinian massacre in Israel, the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust, Antony Blinken told stories about his grandfather fleeing Russian pogroms, and about his stepfather surviving concentration camps during World War II.
For those of us who have a holistic understanding of Israeli history, we know it’s these very pogroms that drove poor Eastern European Jews in the 1800s to immigrate to Ottoman-era Palestine, the indigenous Jewish homeland, well before the horrors of the Holocaust swept across Europe.
And the systemic detention and murder of some six million Jews in such concentration camps is what effectively forced world Jewry to confront the dire need for a formidable Jewish military, what is now known as the Israel Defense Forces.
This army, though, is not one that indiscriminately kills just because it has such capacities. In fact, while Israel is routinely criticized for all of its strikes that result in civilian deaths, you might be surprised to learn that Israel’s civilian-to-combatant ratio is routinely much lower than the nine-to-one global average.
During the very last operation carried out by Israel’s military prior to October 7th (in the Palestinian territory of Jenin), 0.6 civilians were killed for every one combatant eliminated. In that operation, the Israeli military managed to kill more combatants than civilians, which is extremely rare.
But Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State who on Friday just made his fourth visit to Israel since the October 7th attacks, is not the Jew who Israelis have become, by nature of living in one of the most volatile, unpredictable, Jew-hating regions in the world. Lawrence, who knew Arabia well, compared it to shifting sand that one moment speaks quietly and the next turns into a storm.
With all due respect to Blinken, he is the insecure Jew, the apologetic Jew, the self-denying Jew, the Jew who talks out of both sides of his mouth because he doesn’t want to rub anyone the wrong way. In doing so, Blinken rubs everyone the wrong way.
To be sure, Blinken is not the first Jewish U.S. secretary of state to so obviously favor his non-Jewish duties over any Jewish ones, even though they are not or at least shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. (RIP Henry Kissinger.)
And Blinken is not the first U.S. politician to so ignorantly vie for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, the latter of whom are so unbelievably corrupt, making them a nonexistent peace partner.
But Blinken is most definitely among the first politicians to aggressively persuade Israel to implement “humanitarian pauses” — a term that seems to have been invented specifically for and only applied against Israel.
Even then, Israelis aren’t mad that Blinken and the rest of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration are advocating for Palestinian freedom and safety. We are mad at their hypocrisy. We are mad at being lectured about how to fight a war that we neither started nor wanted. We are mad that, after our deadliest day since the Holocaust, we have once again been excluded from their unqualified activism.
We are mad that they tolerate demonstrations in some of America’s most liberal cities, featuring “peaceful” protestors who openly shout “Gas the Jews!” and “Worldwide intifada!” in the name of “free speech.” We are mad that, for years, they’ve overlooked the unsettling antisemitism on university campuses, brushing it off as “rowdy college kids.”
We are mad that Biden’s administration wants the Palestinian Authority to take over Gaza — the same Palestinian Authority whose chairman has openly distorted the Holocaust and overseen legislation to financially incentivize Palestinians to commit acts of terror against Israel, as well as their families, compensation that reached $300 million annually at one point.
We are mad that Biden’s administration only speaks about antisemitism when it’s in the same sentence with “Islamophobia” — as if one has anything to do with the other, except that Islamic fundamentalists (i.e. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad) continuously call for the murder of all Jews. But sure, please keep telling us how much you condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia.
On October 13th, Blinken was right when he said that Israel “may be strong enough” on its own to defend itself, but then he added, “as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there by your side.”
Is that why you and President Biden are significantly hampering Israel from defending itself against Hamas, the world’s fifth-most active terror group and third-wealthiest, by conditioning every declaration of “Israel’s right to defend itself” with “the protection of Gaza civilians” and urging Israel to “take every possible measure to avoid civilian harm.”
Mr. Blinken, we sincerely appreciate your humanitarian efforts, but you don’t need to school the Jewish state on this topic. Perhaps you were never taught that we, the Jews, were among the world’s first humanitarians. The Torah articulates the obligation to love the stranger 36 times, far more than it does the obligation to keep kosher or observe Shabbat.
Mr. Blinken, perhaps you forgot that Israelis agreed to 10 different peace proposals with the Palestinians since the 1930s, most recently in 2019. And perhaps you forgot that the Palestinians and their Arab partners have not just declined every form of compromise and cooperation with the Jews; they’ve lethally attacked Israel from every possible angle as well. See: the 1929 Hebron massacre, the First Arab-Israeli War, the first and second intifadas, and now October 7th, 2023.
Mr. Blinken, perhaps you were mistaken when you tried to convince the world that Hamas doesn’t represent Palestinians, even though a 2022 survey by an esteemed Palestinian pollster revealed that more than 70-percent of Palestinians support additional armed resistance (i.e. terrorism) against Israel, and think that Hamas should be committing more such terrorism.
Mr. Blinken, perhaps you have been disillusioned by diehard progressives to think that war is suddenly supposed to be kind, gentle, and pleasant — and that any divergence from these “new rules of war” is automatically a “war crime.”
Mr. Blinken, perhaps you disregarded Israeli military chief Herzi Halevi, who told you just a few weeks ago that there would be even more Palestinian casualties if Israel took the advice of U.S. generals sent to advise Israel on the operation in Gaza.
Mr. Blinken, perhaps you don’t know that Israel invented military techniques specifically designed to save Palestinian lives, such as “roof knocking” — a practice of dropping non-explosive or low-yield devices on the roofs of targeted civilian infrastructure that is used by Palestinian combatants, to warn non-combatants of imminent bombing and give them time to leave the buildings.
Mr. Blinken, perhaps you’re unaware of the Israeli military’s “code of purity of arms,” one of the values stated in its official doctrine of ethics, which states that:
“The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor, and property.
Still, Mr. Blinken, perhaps you should know that the Israeli military does not permit a single soldier on the ground or in an aircraft to decide whether or not to strike, or to determine if a strike is considered “proportionate” (within the context of international law and the rules of war).
Before any strike can take place, Israeli military guidelines provide that proportionality balancing tests must be presented to and analyzed by Israeli military lawyers who then determine whether a strike is legally permissible as “proportionate” under international law and the rules of war.
These military lawyers are not easily manipulated to simply “rubber stamp” Israeli military requests, and they work in complete independence of the Israeli military. Plus, every military lawyer is personally accountable if they make wrong decisions based on evidence available at the time.
But make no mistake, Mr. Blinken: If Israelis didn’t care for the protection of so-called innocent civilians, this war would’ve been over by now, Gaza would be exclusively in Israeli hands, and there would be no such thing as “Gaza civilians.”
Mr. Blinken, in 2021, you gave public remarks on a congressional report pursuant to the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, a law that directs the U.S. State Department to provide additional training for Foreign Service Officers assigned to a country experiencing or at risk of mass atrocities, such as genocide or war crimes.
As you know, Mr. Blinken, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are both unequivocally guilty of attempted genocide and war crimes. The very person you spoke about on that 2021 day, Elie Wiesel of blessed memory, was very clear when he famously said:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”
Mr. Blinken, I understand there are political considerations (i.e. the 2024 U.S. presidential election) for taking a relatively neutral stance in the Israel-Hamas war, even though Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad kidnapped 20 Americans of the 240 people they abducted.
Mr. Blinken, I also understand that every issue in America has been perilously politicized, thus requiring partisan gymnastics to speak to parts of an American public that are increasingly intoxicated by cult-like identity politics.
And Mr. Blinken, while it boggles my mind that so many Americans are “rooting for” the Palestinians (who have done absolutely nothing for or in favor of the United States), I can only imagine that this profound Palestinian patronage is mostly rooted in antisemitism. Anti-Zionism, do I mean? Those of us more educated know this ploy all too well, the foolish attempt to make a distinction between Israeli and non-Israeli Jews.
In Israel, meanwhile, we the people of Israel are neither playing politics nor rooting for an enemy that openly wants to kill all Jews, you included, Mr. Blinken. We understand that Palestinian terror groups, empowered by a hegemonic Iranian regime, now represent an unprecedented threat to our people, our country, and our moral right and historic need for self-determination in our indigenous homeland.
Mr. Blinken, this is why we the people of Israel are unshakeably united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, even if it takes months, as Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant explicitly conveyed to you on Friday.
Hence, I likely speak for most Israelis when I say to you, Mr. Blinken, that if you don’t want to emphatically and unconditionally stand with the Jewish state during this existential episode in our history, that’s okay. That’s your right.
Admittedly, it seems a bit awkward that you’d keep bringing up stories about your grandfather fleeing Russian pogroms, and about your stepfather surviving the Holocaust — you know, the very things that the State of Israel was founded to guard against — but as the U.S. secretary of state, we get it, you have a job to do.
Just please shut up and go home.