Inside the CIA

The media are gingerly reporting the story broken by the Financial Times. As the New York Post puts it:

A high-ranking CIA official boldly shared multiple pro-Palestinian images on her Facebook page just two weeks after Hamas launched its bloody surprise attack on Israel — while President Biden was touring the Jewish state to pledge the US’s allegiance to the nation.

The CIA’s associate deputy director for analysis changed her cover photo on Oct. 21 to a shot of a man wearing a Palestinian flag around his neck and waving a larger flag, the Financial Times reported.

The image — taken in 2015 during a surge in the long-stemming conflict — has been used in various news stories and pieces criticizing Israel’s role in the violence.

The CIA agent also shared a selfie with a superimposed “Free Palestine” sticker, similar to those being plastered on businesses and public spaces across the nation by protesters calling for a cease-fire.

The Financial Times did not name the official after the intelligence agency expressed concern for her safety.

If you are curious who this senior CIA official is, however, you can check out Joe Simonson’s Washington Free Beacon story “Meet the Senior CIA Official Who Posted Pro-Palestinian Images to Social Media.” She is associate deputy director for analysis Amy McFadden. Simonson adds this poignant CIA statement:

“CIA officers are committed to analytic objectivity, which is at the core of what we do as an Agency,” a CIA spokeswoman told the Free Beacon in an emailed statement. “CIA officers may have personal views, but this does not lessen their—or CIA’s—commitment to unbiased analysis.” The agency declined to say whether McFadden would be subject to disciplinary action or termination.

We are ruled by knaves and fools.

The Jihad One-Two

The 10/7 attack, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, has revived debate on the nature of Islam. Is it true that “Islam is peace,” as President George W. Bush said after 9/11? Or is it basically a jihad against all non-Muslims, starting with the Jews? Fortunately, these questions have been explored in an accessible and entertaining way.

I could hear the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer but I didn’t hear nobody pray, man. No, I didn’t. And it’s a pretty miserable call too, let me tell you. GWAWAWAWAWAWAWAWAK. FNUHUHUHUHUHUH – glottal stop.

That’s the opener to The Marrakesh One-Two by Richard Grenier, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1983. In this tale, Hollywood producers aim to tap Arab petrodollars for a film about Mohammed.

“There were half a billion Moslems in the world, right?” says screenwriter Burt Nelson. “If we had our Bible epics why couldn’t they have their Koran epics?” So Burt gets busy reading the holy book of the Muslims.

“Reams of Allah is great, Allah is one, Allah is supreme,” Nelson finds. “And suddenly you run into, You are forbidden to take in marriage married women, except captives whom you own as slaves. And then more Allah is great and Allah is merciful, until you come to, Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other and because they spend their wealth upon them. Good women are obedient. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.”

Nelson also comes across “good solid stuff” like: “Those of you who divorce their wives by declaring them to be their mothers should know they are not their mothers. Their mothers are those who gave birth to them. The words they utter are unjust and false but Allah is forgiving and merciful. “Which was a good point to clear up,” Nelson says. “I mean, I was sure it had led to a lot of misunderstanding until Mohammed cleared it up.”

Mohammed “expels one tribe of Jews but they can take a little property. And then he expels another tribe of Jews, but they can’t take any property. And then he gets sore and figures they’ve really driven him too far, and when the last tribe of Jews surrenders he has the men slaughtered and the women and children taken as slaves. Allah is merciful, but not necessarily Mohammed, I guess.” And so on, a wild ride right to the end.

“The Arab world depicted with murderous realism,” reads the cover endorsement from Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the famous New York Democrat. On September 11, 2001,  Grenier saw the murderous realism close at hand.  The events of October 7, 2023 would not have surprised the author, who passed away in January of 2002.

At Harvard, where Grenier took graduate studies, anti-Semites are now baying for a second Holocaust. In these conditions, The Marrakesh One-Two is a timely Christmas gift for all readers. See also Grenier’s Capturing the Culture: Film Art and Politics, from 1991, and his first novel, Yes and Back Again, published in 1966.

The Daily Chart: Thursday’s Undercard Debate

As everyone knows, this Thursday Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis will square off in a debate on Fox News that is clearly meant to be a proxy for the presidential race a lot of people in both parties wish we would have next year. Think of it as the undercard for the heavyweight bout to follow between the aging champs hanging on past their prime.

Don’t underestimate Newsom: he’ll come with spirited attacks on DeSantis’s culture war moves in Florida which the media are only too happy to distort (book banning, “don’t say gay,” etc.), and will parry the comparisons DeSantis will make between California and Florida. Like this one:

Not to mention this one, shared before in this space:

We’ll see how effectively Newsom can deflect these attacks. But I think Newsom’s real weakness to be exploited is not these state-to-state comparisons, but in cornering Newsom into defending Joe Biden. This puts Newsom in an awkward position, since Newsom would like Biden to step aside so he can run. Hence DeSantis should alternate between attacks on Newsom’s California and attacks on Biden’s America. DeSantis can get under Newsom’s thin skin by saying, “Hey—I’m running for president against Donald Trump and Joe Biden. How come you aren’t running for president?” Making Newsom repeatedly defend Joe Biden will undermine his reason for wanting to run, and if he begs off from defending Biden, many Democrats will be furious. Game and match to DeSantis.

A Misguided Truce

Several weeks ago, anti-Semitic demonstrations broke out around the world, calling for the destruction of Israel and for a cease fire between Israel and Gaza–i.e., an end to Israel’s counter-offensive. The demonstrators got their wish, and so far, the cease fire is playing out as I had feared. Israel’s military momentum is gone, and Israel has lost control over the situation. All focus now is on the hostage/prisoner exchanges. That puts Hamas in the driver’s seat, and the terrorist regime likely can drag out the cease fire almost indefinitely by dribbling out hostages a few at a time. Having gone down this path, it is hard to see a basis on which Israel’s government can withdraw from the process. So, despite brave assurances from some Israeli officials that the offensive will resume as soon as a brief truce is over, that eventuality is starting to look remote.

Meanwhile, U.S. support for Israel is draining away. Joe Biden is leaning on Israel’s government not to resume its offensive and to be more sensitive to civilian casualties–a suggestion that ought better be addressed to Hamas. Congressional Democrats are talking about conditioning ongoing aid to Israel on that country’s obeying international law. Which, of course, it does, but the intent is clear.

A few weeks ago it seemed incredible that Hamas might remain in power in Gaza, given Israel’s fury over the satanic events of October 7. Now that appears like a real possibility.

If Israel’s offensive is suspended indefinitely, if events dwindle into a prolonged hostage for prisoner exchange in which potentially thousands of Palestinian criminals and terrorists are let go, and if Hamas (or essentially the same elements under a different name) remains in control of Gaza, it will be a searing defeat for Israel and a diabolical triumph for Hamas. The sneak attack of October 7 will have proved a rousing success, and more attacks and more taking of hostages will be virtually guaranteed. Worse, if Israel fails to stand up for its absolute right to defend itself, it may compromise its ultimate ability to fight for its own survival as attacks by its Islamic enemies and the Left intensify.

Perhaps this reading of the situation is too pessimistic. Maybe the current truce will be short-lived, and Israel will get back to the business of defeating–no, destroying–its mortal enemy. I sincerely hope so. But at the moment, I do not like the direction in which events are moving.

Jewish Staffers Defy BBC

On Sunday there was a major demonstration in London, in opposition to anti-Semitism. It was peaceful and dignified, and stood in stark contrast with the pro-Hamas, pro-genocide demonstrations that engulfed the city on previous Saturdays. But the anti-anti-Semitism demonstration was controversial; too controversial for BBC employees to attend. Some did anyway.

Dozens of Jewish BBC staff defied a ban on attending last weekend’s march against antisemitism, it has been revealed.

Jewish employees working in current affairs and factual journalism told Times Radio that being Jewish “took precedence over what the BBC thinks”.

Staff members attended the march on Sunday despite being referred to impartiality rules that say that editorial staff “should not participate in public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues”.

We live in a world in which the Left promulgates increasingly demented standards for what is considered controversial. A recent “Pride” demonstration, for instance, was not deemed controversial, so that BBC employees were permitted–encouraged, I suspect–to participate. But opposition to the demonic anti-Semitism that has broken out in Gaza and around the world is, according to the BBC, in the same “controversial” category as the “from the river to the sea” protests that called for the abolition of Israel and the extermination of the Jewish people.

An anonymous Jewish BBC employee told Times Radio why they decided to attend the demonstration regardless of the consequences.

“I learnt last week that the BBC was barring members of staff from attending the planned march against antisemitism — and let’s face it, we’re really talking about Jewish members of staff here, because they’re the only ones who would really be wanting to go — so the BBC knew exactly who it was stopping.

That last is a revealing comment. Of course there were many non-Jews among the 100,000 or so who participated in the demonstration. To reach that number, I would think a majority, or in any event a large percentage, would have to be Gentiles. My wife and I are currently in London; if we had been here two days earlier, we would have participated. But I don’t know of any reason to doubt the BBC employee’s statement that no one in that organization who isn’t Jewish would be interested in taking part in a march against anti-Semitism. If that is correct, it explains a lot about the BBC’s news coverage.

He’s sorry

The Biden administration is doing its best to engineer Israel’s submission to Hamas, or so it seems to me. Caroline Glick reads the tea leaves in her JNS column “Biden is the primary obstacle to Israeli victory.”

In the column Glick picks up on Biden’s apology to five unnamed but “prominent Muslim Americans” as reported by the Washington Post. The Post story relates that Biden had voiced skepticism about the Gaza death toll provided by the Gaza Health Ministry — you may have heard that it is controlled by Hamas and therefore about as much of a “Health Ministry” as Orwell’s “Ministry oF Truth” was a Ministry of Truth.

“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said on October 25. However, this could not stand. The Post story corroborates Glick’s quotation of Biden’s apology:

Here it is important to note that the number of actual civilians that have died as a result of Israel’s bombings remains unknown. On Oct. 25, Biden acknowledged that the Gaza Health Ministry’s data on civilian casualties lacks credibility in light of the fact that the Health Ministry is simply an organ of Hamas and reports the numbers it is told to report by Hamas’s terror masters. That data counts every dead terrorist as a dead civilian.

Israelis were thrilled with Biden’s statement. But the next day, he apologized for it. According to Fox News, in a meeting with Muslim American leaders on Oct. 26, Biden apologized for telling the truth.

“I’m sorry. I’m disappointed with myself,” he said.

Since Oct. 26, the administration has embraced as fact Hamas’s casualty counts and uses them as the basis for its demand that Israel minimize Palestinian casualties. The administration’s willingness to ignore the fallacies at the heart of those data indicates that its policy is based on something other than concern for Palestinian civilians, and therefore is not a tactical challenge that Israel may be capable of contending with and still win.

Biden is sorry. We can all agree on that. To borrow a phrase, he is a boneless wonder.

On a related note, the New York Post reports:

A 10-month-old Israeli boy – the youngest hostage captured by Hamas – and his family have been handed off to another Palestinian terror group in what one relative decried as “just more psychological torture.”

Arabic spokesman for the IDF Avichay Adraee revealed Monday night that the Bibas family – including infant Kfir, his 4-year-old brother Ariel, and their parents – were being held captive in the southern city of Khan Younis following the disturbing move.

“In Hamas prison, infants under one-year-old who have not seen the light of day for more than 50 days are detained,” Adraee wrote in a post to X.

“Hamas treats them as if they were spoils and sometimes hands them over to other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

The New York Post story is linked in the tweet below. The Babylon Bee to the contrary notwithstanding, perhaps it will give the Nobel committee second thoughts about awarding the Peace Prize to Hamas for releasing a few of the children they kidnaped.

America’s Slow Motion Kristallnacht

With each passing week since October 7, the outbursts of anti-Semitism in America have become more brazen, more widespread, more ferocious, and with fewer attempts to disguise its true character with academic jargon about colonialism. The Jew-hatred is completely out in the open now.

The most shocking example this previous week occurred at Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York, where students rioted in the hallways against a teacher who had attended a pro-Israel rally, forcing the teacher to lock herself in her office. The video of the incident conveys the true horror of the moment far beyond the printed accounts:

The steady unfolding of what ought to be understood as America’s slow-motion Kristallnacht summons to mind Leo Strauss’s haunting words in his preface to his early book about Spinoza, reflecting on what it was like to be a young Jew in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s:

The Weimar Republic was weak. . . On the whole it presented the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or justice unable to use the sword.

This latter sentence comes to mind when surveying the reaction of leading New York public officials to the Hillcrest High School atrocity. New York City Mayor Eric Adams put out a Tweet:

A good start. Won’t be tolerated, the mayor says. So what actions does he suggest will be taken?

“Outreach.” To explain to students “why this behavior is unacceptable.” Straight from a “conflict resolution” seminar at an Ivy League school, where most of the noxious doctrines justifying anti-Semitism have been nurtured for a generation now. Yeah, I’m sure “outreach” will do the trick.

The response of the chancellor of New York’s public school system, David C. Banks, is even more indicative of “justice unable to use the sword.”

Again, a good start. So what is he going to do about it? More “outreach”? Yup:

“Open dialogue.” Facilitated by outside organizations!

It gets worse from here. If you don’t believe me, read his entire pathetic thread.

Memo to Chancellor Banks: You know what might work (though things may have passed the point of no return)? Expel every student who rioted. Fire every teacher who taught the noxious ideology that made students believe anti-Semitism is socially acceptable. Junk the curriculum and reading lists that propagandize this loathsomeness.

Of course no one in a position of responsibility in our schools or universities will do any such thing. “Justice without a sword or justice unable to use the sword.” Meanwhile the White House is worried about Islamophobia and violence this year against 24 LGBTQIA+ persons.

There’s another passage from Strauss’s preface worth revisiting and updating:

The election of Field-Marshall von Hindenburg [at age 78] to the presidency of the German Reich in 1925 showed everyone who had eyes to see that the Weimar Republic had only a short time to live.

Might a future historian someday record that

The election of Joe Biden [at age 78] in 2020 to the presidency of the United States showed everyone who had eyes to see that the American Republic had only a short time to live.

Too fanciful or alarmist? Recall that in 1987 Allan Bloom, in his famous book The Closing of the American Mind, wrote that contemporary America was “a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic.” The irony here is that it is hard to say whether his invocation of Disney should be taken lightheartedly as Bloom meant it then, or deadly seriously, given the significance of Disney’s wokery as a sign of our republic’s perilous condition. It’s later than you think.