X Share This Email
LinkedIn Share This Email

Having Trouble Viewing This? Want An Easy-to-Share Link? Click Here.

Steve Sheffey's Pro-Israel Political Update

Calling balls and strikes for the pro-Israel community since 2006

Follow me on Twitter

Join The Mailing List

June 9, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Yesterday, Israel rescued four of the hostages held for more than eight months--247 days- since October 7, 2023, when, on Simchat Torah, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel and murdered 1,200 people (including 44 Americans). More Jews were murdered on that day than on any day since the Holocaust. Hamas wounded 3,300 and took 240 hostage during a day of brutal savagery and unspeakable, undeniable sexual violence; 120 hostages, 43 confirmed dead (but certainly more), some raped and possibly pregnant, remain captive in Gaza today.

  • The 120 remaining hostages comprise five religions and 25 nationalities, including eight Americans, five probably alive: Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Keith Siegal, Omer Neutra, Edan Alexander, Sagui Dekel-Chen, Itay Chen, Judi Weinstein Haggai, and Gad Haggai.

  • The worst, most dangerous antisemitism is government-condoned or government-supported antisemitism. Our top priority should be keeping Donald "very fine people"/"unified Reich" Trump out of the White House.

  • The onus remains on Hamas to accept the ceasefire proposal outlined by President Biden and agreed to by Netanyahu and his war cabinet. We could have a ceasefire now if Hamas would agree to a ceasefire now.

  • The Biden administration announced a new $3 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets to Israel.

  • House Republicans passed a misguided, flawed, and overly broad Republican bill that would impose sanctions not only on the ICC, but on our allies and on American nationals. The ICC was wrong to apply for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders; this bill is not the right response.

  • Inviting Netanyahu to address Congress at this juncture is not pro-Israel. Inviting him to speak on the second day of Shavuot epitomizes Republican insensitivity toward the Jewish community.

Read to the end for corrections, what you may have missed last week, fun stuff, and upcoming events.

You're welcome to read for free, but if you get something out of this newsletter, you can give something back by credit card or PayPal, by Venmo @Steven-Sheffey (last four phone digits are 9479), or by check. Thank you.

Hi Steve,

Finally, some unequivocally good great news: Yesterday, an Israeli military operation rescued Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv, all kidnapped by Hamas at the Nova music festival on October 7.

The White House commended the operation, noting that "the hostage release and ceasefire deal that is now on the table would secure the release of all the remaining hostages together with security assurances for Israel and relief for the innocent civilians in Gaza." The U.S. provided intelligence and logistical support for the operation.

Families of hostages issued a statement urging a hostage deal, noting that "to date 7 hostages were extracted through heroic military operations. 105 were brought home during the previous hostage release deal."

The onus remains on Hamas to accept the ceasefire arrangement presented by President Biden. A joint statement from the leaders of the United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom issued on June 6 called "on Hamas to close this agreement, that Israel is ready to move forward with, and begin the process of releasing our citizens."

The State Department said yesterday that "the only thing standing in the way of achieving this ceasefire is Hamas. It is time for them to accept the deal."

The Biden administration announced a new $3 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets to Israel. Bloomberg reported that the deal "underscores President Joe Biden’s commitment to Israel’s defense even as concerns have grown about Israel’s prosecution of its war in Gaza against Hamas."

This is in addition to a $1 billion arms sale Biden announced in May and more than 100 arms sales approved by the Biden administration while Republicans delayed President Biden's emergency aid request for Israel for six months.

You remember October 7, but do you remember April 13? On April 13, 2024, Iran fired hundreds of ballistic missiles toward Israel. President Biden organized a coordinated response with our allies, moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region, and became the first president to use U.S. forces to directly defend Israel from attack--in this case, an attack that would have been many times worse than October 7. We don't remember it because Biden prevented it from happening but it was a BFD.

The U.S. intelligence and logistical support for yesterday's hostage rescue was only the latest example of the Biden administration's strong support for Israel throughout this crisis. If you've forgotten all that Biden has done for Israel since October 7, refresh your memory.

The worst, most dangerous antisemitism is government-condoned or government-supported antisemitism. That's why our top priority should be keeping Donald "very fine people"/"unified Reich" Trump and his long history of antisemitic rhetoric out of the White House. It's no coincidence that the GOP has mainstreamed antisemitic rhetoric. Democrats marginalize and condemn antisemitism within their ranks; Republicans elevate antisemites to the highest echelons of leadership. Meanwhile, President Biden has taken concrete actions to fight antisemitism, including campus antisemitism.

Stealing and retaining classified documents, inciting an insurrection, refusing to accept the results of a lawful election, legal liability for sexual abuse, 34 felony convictions--any one of those should be disqualifying in the eyes of any decent American. But for any Jewish American to ignore these affronts to our humanity, to ignore Trump's racism, xenophobia, and contempt for democracy, not to mention his hostility to reproductive rights, because of faux concerns about Israel and antisemitism when the facts show that Biden is great on both and Trump is terrible on both is a shanda for the goyim if there ever was one.

Republicans are playing games with the ICC and our security. On May 20, President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately condemned the International Criminal Court's applications for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders. If Trump has said anything at all, I haven't seen it. Then again, to be fair, maybe Trump is too busy with his own arrest warrants.

Last week, the vast majority of Democrats voted against a misguided, flawed, and overly broad Republican bill that would impose sanctions not only on the ICC, but on our allies and on American nationals. Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) details the problems with this bill.

As Meeks--who strongly opposes the arrest warrant applications for Israeli leaders--reminds us, "the ICC is a venue through which we can hold accountable bad actors. I know many of us celebrated in March of last year when the ICC judges issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials for abducting thousands of Ukrainian children."

Meeks is right but in fairness, I don't think Donald Trump or his Republican sycophants cheered the arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, so maybe the GOP saw no downside to its mischief. But for the rest of us, it's one more reason to vote for Biden in November.

Inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress is not pro-Israel. Says who? Says Israeli journalist Amir Tibon. Tibon writes that "there is nothing 'pro-Israel' about this invitation. It is not 'pro-Israel' to side with Netanyahu's party against the brave families of the hostages, who are fighting to secure a deal for their release. It is not 'pro-Israel' to help Netanyahu address Congress while knowing that since October 7, he has not found the time to meet with ANY of the Israeli communities invaded by Hamas under his watch. It is not 'pro-Israel' to help Netanyahu help Trump's election campaign, just a month-and-a-half after Biden led an international coalition that helped Israel avert huge damages from Iran's ballistic missile attack on April 13."

Tibon was trapped for ten hours in Kibbutz Nahal Oz during Hama's October 7 rampage. His friends were murdered and kidnapped. Nahal Oz is less than a kilometer from the Gaza border.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs writes that "too many of our communal organizations still believe that supporting Israel requires supporting its government, and that any public criticism strengthens the anti-Israel voices. In fact, the opposite is true. Jewish organizations that call for a return of hostages without simultaneously calling for an end to the war only feed the toxic narrative that one must choose between caring about Israelis and caring about Palestinians."

Without consulting his Democratic counterparts, GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) chose the second day of Shavuot for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. Weird how the party that includes Jews never messes up like this (of the approximately 37 Jewish members of Congress, two are Republicans).

As he has done since becoming Speaker, Johnson continually seeks to create partisan divisions on Israel and antisemitism and prey on legitimate emotions of the Jewish community.

Come November, Jewish voters are not voting for a convicted felon over a president who proclaims that Zionism is one of his deeply held convictions. Johnson is creating needless divisions on Israel. Shame on those in the Jewish community who look the other way and pretend this is normal. Netanyahu is now scheduled to speak on July 24. I guess Johnson couldn't wait until Rosh HaShanah.

Corrections. I'm entitled to my own opinions but not to my own facts, so I appreciate it when readers bring errors to my attention. No one pointed out any substantive errors in last week's newsletter. There was one typo that did not change the meaning. But I included an incorrect link--here is the right link to Nine Facts Every Jewish Voter Should Know About Donald Trump.

In Case You Missed It:

  • Washington Monthly reported last week on the costs of exaggerating the campus protests and on how relatively few campuses were affected: "It isn’t that the encampments aren’t real, but they are far from representative of the typical college campus, young voter, or even the American position on the Middle East. There are approximately 1,500 four-year colleges in the United States. Encampments, walkouts, protests, and sit-ins took place at almost 140 campuses—most of them poorly attended and alienated from majority opinion."

  • Ruth Marcus writes that Trump's thirst for retribution is "dangerous, unlawful, and un-American."

  • If you read the Wall Street Journal's hit piece on Biden's age, you owe it to yourself to read Oliver Darcy and Matt Gertz. This handy chart outlines the criteria for being quoted in the Wall Street Journal. Like that chart? You'll love this one (share it with your friends who think age is an issue in this election). Jennifer Schulze has a good overview of the journalistic norms that the Wall Street Journal violated.

  • The Biden administration supported a censure resolution against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Association. Laura Rozen notes that the Biden administration "has been very forward leaning in pushing G7 and European allies to tighten sanctions on Iran, particularly in the wake of Iran’s April 13 ballistic missile and drone attack on Israel."

  • Ron Kampeas won an American Jewish Press Association Rockower Award (one of two for him in 2024) for this essay.

Tweets of the Week. Chris Meloni, Jeremy Newberger, and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).

Response to Protesters of the Week. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Twitter Thread of the Week. What should we call Donald Trump?

Video Clip of the Week. Steve Martin's first TV appearance.

Upcoming Events. Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds performs inspirational music empowering children to be their true selves on Sunday, July 7, at 10:00 am at Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods - 1551 Trap Road Vienna, VA 22182 (Wolf Trap).

For those new to this newsletter. This is the newsletter even Republicans have to read and the original home of the viral and beloved 2022 and 2023 Top Ten Signs You're At a Republican Seder. If someone forwarded this to you, why not subscribe and get it in your inbox every Sunday? Just click here--it's free.

I periodically update my posts on why Democrats are better than Republicans on Israel and antisemitism and on the IHRA definition of antisemitism. My definition of "pro-Israel" is here (it's a work in progress, as am I).

I hope you enjoyed today's newsletter. It takes time to write and costs money to send. If you'd like to chip in, click here and fill in the amount of your choice. You don't need a PayPal account. If you see something that says "Save your info and create a PayPal account," click the button to the right and it will go away. Or you can Venmo @Steven-Sheffey (last four phone digits are 9479). Or you can send a check.

The Fine Print: This newsletter usually drops on Sunday mornings. Unless stated otherwise, the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of any candidates or organizations I support or am associated with. I value intellectual honesty over intellectual consistency, and every sentence should be read as if it began with the words "This is what I think today is most likely to be correct and I'm willing to be proven wrong, but..." Read views opposed to mine and make up your own mind. A link to an article doesn't mean I agree with everything its author has ever said or even that I agree with everything in the article; it means that the article supports or elaborates on the point I was making. Don't send me videos or podcasts--send me a transcript if it's that important (it's not only you--it's the dozens of other people who want me to watch or listen to "just this one"). Don't expect a reply if your message is uncivil or if it's clear from your message that you only read the bullet points or failed to click on the relevant links. I write about what's on my mind, not necessarily your mind; if you want to read about something else, read something else. If you can't open a link or if you can't find the newsletter in your email, figure it out--I'm not your IT department. If you share an excerpt from this newsletter please share the link to the newsletter (near the top of the newsletter). My newsletter, my rules.

Dedicated to my daughters: Ariel Sheffey, Ayelet Sheffey, and Orli Sheffey z''l. Copyright 2024 Steve Sheffey. All rights reserved.

X Share This Email
LinkedIn Share This Email