Are Things About to Escalate Between Israel and Gaza?

Rocket sirens have been heard throughout Israel’s southern and central towns after Israel’s targeted assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad figure in Gaza. Here are three takes on how this situation is evolving.

Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad leader, initiated attacks on Israel. He was warned time and again but continued to plan attacks. Israel had no alternative to killing him, as Hamas authorities in Gaza did not act to restrain him.

Abu al-Ata opposed any accord with Israel, including the arrangement whereby the Qatar government transfers cash to the Gaza Strip to support needy families, and he tried to thwart any such moves… It can cautiously be presumed that, despite threatening announcements, the Hamas leadership is not overly upset at Abu al-Ata’s demise.

Lawmakers on the Left accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for authorizing the assassination of an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza on Tuesday for political advantage, and were met by sharp criticism for their remarks by MKs on the Right and Left.

Should Hunter Biden Be Questioned in the Impeachment Inquiry?

Republicans are demanding the chance to question Hunter Biden as part of the impeachment inquiry. But while Trump’s attempt to have Ukraine investigate Hunter Biden is indeed a big part of the impeachment story, Democrats see this demand as little more than an attempt to distract.

Apparently, the House Republicans’ best defense of Donald Trump from impeachment is to distract from the truth and instead push Trump’s outlandish conspiracy theories… if the GOP was truly concerned with rooting out conflicts of interest involving children of the heads of our executive branch… all they need to do is investigate Ivanka Trump’s apparent conflicts of interest…

…even if you buy the Democrats’ premise that Trump’s ­request was not merely inappropriate but illegal and a crime so terrible that it justifies impeachment, this makes no sense. How can the House examine this matter without probing Trump’s motivation for requesting that Ukraine investigate the Bidens?

Corruption is corruption & it MUST be exposed. The GOP is right in DEMANDING answers on why #HunterBiden was making massive $$ in an industry he knew nothing about. There’s much more to this story than the Dems have attempted to present. Their spin is about to be unspun.

How Does Bernie Sanders Plan To Fight Antisemitism?

In an essay published in Jewish Currents (below), presidential candidate Bernie Sanders discusses his Jewish heritage and his plans to fight antisemitism in America. But while Sanders speaks out strongly against antisemitism on the far right, does he ignore antisemitism in his own party?

Opposing antisemitism is a core value of progressivism. So it’s very troubling to me that we are also seeing accusations of antisemitism used as a cynical political weapon against progressives. One of the most dangerous things Trump has done is to divide Americans by using false allegations of antisemitism, mostly regarding the US–Israel relationship.

Fighting a problem means confronting it in all forms and on all fronts. Sanders only wants to take the easy path of condemning the forms of anti-Semitism that are acceptable to condemn within his political coalition. Instead of challenging those within his tent, he does something even worse. He tries to use his Jewish background as a shield to protect political allies spewing hate, thus enabling the spread of anti-Semitism.

There is plenty of time left in this campaign, however, for Sanders to find the words to guide and challenge his own camp, and raise up the politically inconvenient and often-ignored manifestations of anti-Semitism in America. If he can’t, his advocacy on the issue—while symbolically significant—will likely remain just that. But if he does, he’ll set an enduring example for the entire country.

Is NATO “Brain-Dead?”

NATO, the intergovernmental military alliance, is turning 70-years-old. It is also, according to a recent comment from French President Emmanuel Macron, becoming “brain-dead.” Is he correct?

He’s not wholly wrong. A generation after the collapse of communism, the Western alliance that won the Cold War is adrift and confused. The trans-Atlantic gap is wider than ever, and the fissures between Brexit-minded Britain, Gaullist France and an increasingly powerful Germany seem to deepen and grow from year to year.

Second-Term Trump could finish the job by withdrawing from the World Trade Organization and NATO. Even if Congress wouldn’t go along, he could effectively render NATO meaningless by simply saying he won’t go to war for our deadbeat allies, thereby reversing his begrudging endorsement of the Article V collective-defense provision.

…the causes of NATO’s problems go far deeper than dissension about President Trump’s statements or actions. A much more fundamental cause is diverging security interests and preferences between the United States and its European allies.

Is Nikki Haley the Future of the GOP?

Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the UN and rising star in the GOP, walks a delicate line in her new memoir, “With All Due Respect.” Without abandoning Trump, she attempts to set herself apart from the president. But can she successfully position herself as an alternative to Trump without disavowing Trumpism?

Her two-pronged approach may well offer Republicans their best chance at winning elections in the post-Trump era… Successful politicians often find themselves trying to be all things to all people. Nikki Haley, it appears, is getting ready to put that proposition to the ultimate test.

Haley, who is often mentioned as a possible Presidential candidate for 2024, is a prime example of a Republican who is supporting Trump for opportunistic reasons. Despite lacking foreign-policy experience, she spent two years at the United Nations defending Trump’s efforts to thumb his nose at the world…

Haley has played this all correctly, should the opportunity present itself. Having left the administration at the right time, she has laid out a clear contrast on key issues but hasn’t directly confronted Trump enough to anger his core supporters.

Are “Gender Reveal Parties” Inherently Dangerous?

In an elaborate gender reveal stunt, a small plane loaded with pink water (to symbolize the impending birth of a baby girl) crashed in a field, revealing the apparent dangers of America’s most controversial cultural ritual. Luckily there were no fatalities from this most recent stunt, though it would not have been the first time.

The methods for [revealing the gender] seem to have started out as benign, if stereotypical—cutting into a cake to reveal either blue or pink frosting, say. But in the past couple of years, some kind of communal madness has taken hold, and many of these feats of gender performance have gotten more elaborate, more public, and more dangerous—putting lives and entire ecosystems at risk.

At some point, the gender reveal party itself starts feeling less and less about the expected arrival of a baby and far more about the parents pledging a public allegiance to gender norms that have been questionable at best and life-ending at worst.

The crash is the latest in a string of dangerous incidents related to gender-reveal parties. Last month, a 56-year-old Iowa woman died after being struck by debris caused by an explosion that was part of a gender reveal. A similar explosion occurred a day after….they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, and probably won’t as long as babies keep being born and social media exists

Today’s Hot Issues

Are Things About to Escalate Between Israel and Gaza? Should Hunter Biden Be Questioned in the Impeachment Inquiry? How Does Bernie Sanders Plan To Fight Antisemitism? Is NATO “Brain-Dead?” Is Nikki Haley the Future of the GOP? Are “Gender Reveal Parties” Inherently Dangerous?