First, Paul Wells has an interesting article out tonight about how police are dealing with the pro-Palestinian protests: The police won't make your point Notes on a 20-year revolution in police handling of protests. Spoiler: you probably won't like it. Wells covers a lot of history here, from Selma to anti-globalization to the Freedom Convoy to today's pro-Palestinian sit-ins. He concludes:
Here's a thread from David Frum:...To me it’s highly contradictory to argue the police were too rough on the Freedom Convoy protesters, who had the run of downtown Ottawa for most of a month, and too gentle on the pro-Palestine protesters who’ve rather thuggishly decided to make their point in a Toronto neighbourhood whose only distinguishing feature is that a bunch of Jews live there. But I know people who can navigate that contradiction without difficulty.What I hope we can all agree is that police forces are not better equipped than the rest of us to make fine distinctions between protest groups based on values, but quite the contrary. Police forces are not precision instruments. They have learned, through long experience over three turbulent decades, that they have a broad choice to make: repress protests through implied or real force and escalation, or help protesters make their point and, at some point, go home. The latter strategy is no fun to watch. The former is often way worse.
Israel suffered terribly on October 7 and continues to bleed lives in combat operations. In that sense, Hamas scored a win for its bloodthirsty ideology.— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 7, 2024
If Hamas imagines it's hastening some Islamic apocalypse through redemptive violence, they may believe that's a win too.
As for Hamas supporters in the West: they are certainly enjoying themselves by marching in the streets chanting antisemitic slogans, blocking highways and airports, vandalizing Jewish institutions, harassing individual Jews, and angry posting on social media. But ...— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 7, 2024
The thing that most offends Hamas supporters in the West - Israel and its allies are very strong - is exactly the thing that those supporters refuse to take into account in their strategic thinking.— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 7, 2024
... if they had thought about strategy or politics or anything beyond their pleasure in others' pain, they would realized that if the date December 7 "lives in infamy" as FDR said, then the Hamas atrocities of October 7 will live forever in the annals of human stupidity. END— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 7, 2024
Powell notes that about half of the Jews in Israel also come from families who are indigenous to the Middle East...To talk of settler states and oppressed Indigenous people, and claim an umbilical connection between Palestinian struggles and those of Native Americans, is to construct a morality tale stripped of subtleties—a matter not of politics, but of sin.Israel, in this view, is not a flawed and contentious democracy engaged in a war with an enemy that vows to destroy it. It is a settler-colonialist state built upon the oppression and exploitation of Indigenous Palestinians....Many supporters of the Palestinian cause insist on using the terms settler colonialism and Indigenous, the better to render Israel and Israelis as an oppressive other. To assail a colony of outsiders with an “imagined” connection to Palestine, as some left-wing scholars put it, makes it all too easy to brush aside the practicalities of coexistence with an Israel that is now 75 years old and has about 9 million citizens, including about 2 million Arabs.Settlers, the theory goes, are mere pawns of imperial patrons, and impermanence is implied. Settlers can be uprooted, sojourns violently terminated. What matters is that Indigenous people reclaim their rightful inheritance....
The events of 1948 offered yet more complications. Arabs and Jews exchanged slaughters. Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were left stateless even as Arab governments expelled many hundreds of thousands of Jews from homes across the Arab world. Today the Mizrahi Jews, as the Indigenous Jewish residents of the Middle East are known, comprise slightly more than half of Israel’s population.
No one now holds a monopoly on pain. For a Palestinian family in 1948 to have lost a treasured family home, a farm, a business was a grievous wound. Nor can the horrors of October 7 justify the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the deadly vigilante violence with which Israeli settlers there enforce their writ. Yet the answer to injustice won’t be found in slogans that wish away the existence of Israel or, for that matter, the United States.The passage of time and much violence and cohabitation speaks only to the poverty of using loaded terms such as settler colonialism and Indigenous to locate moral certainty in the Israeli-Palestine dispute. A land of contention and suffering is not a promising place in which to claim such rhetorical clarity.