What Does a Deadly Strike in Rafah Mean for the War?

An airstrike that led to around 20 casualties at a tent camp in Rafah is leading to increased pressure from world leaders for Israel to stop its operation.

…one might also remember that such seemingly random errors have led to the end of many past Israeli operations of this kind. When a single Israeli action has resulted in a civilian death toll that the world cannot tolerate, it’s often become a tipping point in the course of conflict.

… the forced evacuation of a large portion of the city’s civilian population hasn’t entirely solved the problem. Rafah has remained crowded – with estimates of about 350,000 people remaining there – and Hamas continues operating from among the civilians, using them as human shields.

“It makes a difficult situation worse” for Biden, Richard Haas, a former State Department official and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, said of the latest attack. “He is trying to walk a line but the problem with his line is for many it’s too supportive of Israel and for others it’s not supportive enough.”

What Went Down at the People’s Conference for Palestine?

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said that support for Israel should be a “red line” in America at the People’s Conference for Palestine in Detroit over Memorial Day weekend.

Tlaib was the surprise guest speaker at the People’s Conference for Palestine, which was endorsed by and has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The Marxist PFLP is a designated foreign terrorist organization, which is reason enough to denounce Tlaib’s collaboration with the conference.

Another speaker at the conference was Sana’ Daqqa, the wife of a PFLP terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison for the 1984 abduction and murder of an Israeli soldier… She then referenced the Hamas massacre on October 7, called the al-Aqsa Flood, as the response to Israel. “The only thing that can stop this is a flood,” she said. “This is what the resistance intended, that the flood would become floods throughout the entire region.”

“These Zionists lie like they breathe,” Rafeedie said. “I want to assure everyone that there is no longer a place for a two-state solution for any Palestinian. The only solution is one democratic Palestinian land which will end the Zionist project in Palestine.”

Is There a Solution for the Problem of Campus Antisemitism?

Since October 7th, campuses have become increasingly hostile to Jewish students and Jewish life. Is there any way to reverse this trend?

There’s an additional way to fight back against the forces of hate: through the chutzpah of success.

On the macro level, we must change the national narrative and engage in real political action and coalition building. On the micro level, we must support our students therapeutically and legally, letting them know they have a community off campus and that they are welcome and safe.

…the ideology that considers both Israel and America as evil, and that allows for antisemitism and anti-Americanism to be normalized is a systemic problem, one that is not going away. There are other schools available for students besides the highly rated and highly problematic ones. And for Jewish students, there are a number of Jewish schools. And there is Israel.

Should It Be Legal to Bet on Elections?

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has voted to make gambling on presidential elections against the law. More at Politico.

The case for prediction markets is simple: They give observers valuable information about the future. The information may seem low stakes in the case of the Oscars or sports, but obviously who controls the presidency is of public interest, and with polling getting harder and harder, we need all the help we can get in forecasting and understanding election results.

Beyond the threat to democracy, election gambling has the potential to harm investors on a large scale. The rising prevalence of constant access to markets via game-like smartphone apps, advertising campaigns full of celebrity faces and deepfake misinformation will entice more Americans into risky bets.

Betting on elections in the United States has a long history. I believe it will never stop. If it isn’t done on regulated platforms in the United States, it will happen elsewhere, but the data on offshore and black-market betting is unlikely to be as useful to academics and journalists.

Why Are More People Giving Their Pets “Human Names”?

More and more cats and dogs are being given so-called “human names” like Paul or Dan or Lisa. What’s behind the trend?

American animals who lack human-esque names aren’t loved any less, but the degree of intimacy we have with modern companion animals may almost demand anthropomorphism.

Some dogs end up with human names because they are, in fact, named after a specific person, whether a family member, celebrity, or beloved character from pop culture…

Dogs started to take on more human roles in the 19th century. Katherine Grier, the author of Pets in America, says that when middle-class culture started to emerge, raising a pet became linked to the idea of raising a child.

What’s New & Fascinating in Jewish Literature?

Here are three page-turning takes on news from the world of Jewish literature:

“Ulysses.” “Mrs. Dalloway.” “Amerika.” “Nightwood.” “Mazaltob.”

Are these the novels that come to mind when we think of Modernism, the literary movement of the early-20th century that challenged traditional ideas and more importantly forms, employing stream-of-consciousness, fragmentation and experimentation?

“Mazaltob,” of course, is the exception here—though perhaps it ought not be.

New York Post writer Reuven Fenton’s provocative and humorous debut novel centers on the two Belkin brothers who react differently to a shared trauma… Things turn upside down when a final letter from their mother explains that she was not Jewish, so neither are they, as the law goes by matrilineal descent.

“From My Family to Yours” is a true celebration of the intergenerational and multicultural connection. The more than 100 pages of culinary delights reflect the rich tapestry of cultural heritage within Los Angeles.

The cookbook is collected and presented by Alliance for Healthier Generation, City of Los Angeles Department of Aging and Woodcraft Rangers, and is in partnership with Jewish Family Service LA.

Today’s Hot Issues

What Does a Deadly Strike in Rafah Mean for the War? What Went Down at the People’s Conference for Palestine? Is There a Solution for the Problem of Campus Antisemitism? Should It Be Legal to Bet on Elections? Why Are More People Giving Their Pets “Human Names”? What’s New & Fascinating in Jewish Literature?