The floorboard test

Last night a colleague sent me a gracious message, wishing for the safe return of the hostages and expressing disgust over the antisemites in my comment section. I wanted to share my reply.

You have no idea how much this means to me.

I’ve just been shaking with anger after an exchange with the latest antisemite to email me. After I asked her whether she really wished for my family and friends in Israel to be murdered, she said that if I “read a fucking book that’s not about computers,” I would understand that “violence is the language of the oppressed.”

The experience of the last few weeks has radicalized me like nothing else in life. I’m not the same person as I was in September. My priorities are not the same. 48% of Americans aged 18-24 now say that they sympathize with Hamas more than Israel. Not with the Palestinian people, with Hamas. That’s nearly half of the next generation of my own country that might want me and my loved ones to be slaughtered.

I feel like the last thread connecting me to my previous life are the people like you, who write to me with kindness and understanding, and who make me think: there are Gentiles who would’ve hidden me under the floorboards when the SS showed up.

Be well.

151 Responses to “The floorboard test”

  1. Sebastian Zimmer Says:

    It is entirely conceivable to me that 48% of Americans aged 18-24 have no idea what Hamas is, so I would consider this more a statistic about ignorance than about hate.

    Certainly here in the UK the vast majority of the pro-palestinian protestors do not support Hamas, even while the BBC uncritically distributes Hamas propaganda.

  2. Domotor Palvolgyi Says:

    I agree with Sebastian Zimmer. People are more ignorant than you could ever imagine. In Hungary the majority is probably behind Israel, because that’s what the state propaganda tells them, as our illiberal prime ministers are good friends. At the same time, people are happy with statues of fascist leaders being erected all over the country.

  3. Jeff Says:

    “…violence is the language of the oppressed.”

    –> cf. Ghandi, or MLK Jr.

  4. Cerastes Says:

    I don’t have anything meaningful or intelligent to add, but I wanted to convey my sympathies and empathy. While I don’t have your level of connection to the events, I similarly feel like I’m suddenly living in a weird, alternate world, where so many people’s thoughts and speech are just utterly bizarre.

    I remember feeling this way before, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook and Parkland high shootings, and the reactions I saw. Part of why this post resonated is that it permanently changed how I relate to people, and frankly, I’m not sure there is a way to turn back the clock, or even if I would want to, knowing what I know now.

    I’m not even sure why I’m commenting, other than to hopefully make you feel a bit less alone about this.

  5. I Says:

    It is a pretty big update, yeah. But the weird thing is Scott, you’ve been quite nervous about politics in the West for a few years, and you didn’t see this coming. Where did your models go wrong? This isn’t just a question for you. Everyone who was blindsided by this reaction should ask themselves that question.

    Also, dude, please take a break from reading & responding to emails like that. This is like your worst habit. Setup an anti-semite filter or get a grad-student to do it. Please stop sticking your hand in the fire. Yes, even if the fire is a lot bigger and nearer than you thought it was. Focus on fireproofing yourself and what you care about instead. Figure out why you didn’t notice the fire. Maybe poke the fire a bit if it is the best action towards those ends, but don’t keep burning yourself. It hurts to watch.

  6. Christopher Says:

    > The experience of the last few weeks has radicalized me like nothing else in life.

    The sad thing is that this is vaguely what Hamas wants, to aggravate Israel so everyone else gets mad at them:

    Not sure what to do about it tho. You can’t just *ignore* them posting pictures to social media of themselves kidnapping Grandmas.

    (Also, afaik I don’t have floorboards, but if I did you could hide under them anytime! Take care of yourself Scott!)

  7. HasH Says:

    Despite our apartment being destroyed after the earthquake, you still have a home where you and your family can safely stay. It’s in a Muslim country and a Muslim neighborhood. No one can harm you here. I have room, food, and brotherhood to share with you. Don’t keep feeling sorry for fools and the ignorant. Evolution doesn’t equally develop everyone.


  8. Jörg Schäfer Says:

    Dear Mr Aaronson,

    As a practical computer science scholar and former mathematician/physicist I am following your blog since many years. I am shocked not only about the Hamas terrorist attack but also about the lack of empathy for Jewish people all over the world, particularly at universities, and unfortunately also in my own country, Germany. Germany’s recent abstention from UN Gaza resolution is a scandal and I am deeply ashamed about it. However, rest assured there are people supporting Israel, people who stand up and show empathy. At my little university, we filed a public solidarity letter clearly condemning Hamas. I have also changed during the past years. As a former pacifist in my youth, I have donated for the second time money to an army. First for Ukraine last year, and this month for the IDF and I am asking friends to do same.

    Sincerely Yours

    Jörg Schäfer

  9. Gabriel Says:

    Scott, I would not only hide you and your family under our floorboards, I would grab a gun and fight for y’all. No Jew will EVER be threatened because of his or her race in my vicinity and be alone. Nor a man or woman of any other race, for that matter. This is the United States.

  10. fred Says:

    When I watched news report on mainstream media about two different pro-Palestinian protests here in the US, whenever they interviewed black Americans, the answers always contained “As an oppressed black person in the US…” then something about really feeling sorry for the Palestinians.

    This is the victory of reductionist Woke dogma, where the details don’t matter and it’s all about skin color, with Palestinians == Brown, Jews == Whites, Whites == Oppressors, White == Guilt, White racism is okay and encouraged, and no-one should feel sorry for the killing of Whites, they all had it coming.

    It really doesn’t go any deeper than this… which isn’t very much surprising considering that, in 2016, only under one third of College-age American Millennials could even locate Israel on a world map:

    Each new young generation has a tendency to erase history and ignore subtleties and be somewhat radical, but the difference nowadays is that the youth has been brainwashed with decades of glorified gun violence in movies, tv, and video games.

  11. Scott Says:

    fred #10:

      This is the victory of reductionist Woke dogma, where the details don’t matter and it’s all about skin color, with Jews == Whites, Whites == Oppressors, White == Guilt,…

    There are so many ironies in that Manichean theory, not the least of which is that many Israelis have a darker skin tone than many Palestinians…

  12. fred Says:

    Scott #11

    I know, and some Palestinian children in Gaza are even blondish with blue eyes… but, believe me, NONE of those outliers matter to them, the Israelis in charge (Netanyahu, IDF spokepersons) they see on TVs are obviously White enough.

    And, on a grander scale, it’s all also falling into the great Anti-Western democracies movement done by the axis of Russia, China, Iran,…

  13. fred Says:

    “And, on a grander scale, it’s all also falling into the great Anti-Western democracies movement done by the axis of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea,…”

    To expand on this, all those anti-democratic autocracies are constantly stirring and spinning the colonial past of Western democracies in the parts of the world they want to bring to their side of the New World Order (creating a counteracting pole to the Judeo-Christian democractic US-Euro hegemony, Israel being part of it).
    That fruit has been ripe and low for a while now, so it’s been really easy for Putin and Xi to pull this off.

    E.g. for decades the French have been deploying forces in many parts of Africa to help fight various Islamist terrorist groups (on the request of the local governments), but they now had to leave for good after China and Russia spent years feeding anti-French propaganda to the populations in those places (years of fake news on social media), which wasn’t too hard because most of those places were ex-French colonies like Mali and Niger (and of course those places have all recently undergone violent coups, with the new powers being welcoming of Russia and China, what a coincidence!).

    And you can also see this in the constant reference to Israel’s “colonization” of Palestinians. That word isn’t used by accident, it perfectly fits into this new global order narrative.

    Xi and Putin also know very well that Western democracies have a huge problem with their massive young Muslim population, always on the verge of explosion and civil war (e.g. the weeks of violent rioting in France this summer).

    The irony is (once more) huge given the genocidal treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and the fact that Europe is still where most of the “brown” population of Africa ends up seeking political and economical shelter (Russia and China will never welcome them, obviously).

  14. Tom Marshall Says:

    Introduction: I’m Jewish, I spent a year being Orthodox, including a summer in a yeshivah in Jerusalem between undergrad and grad school. I’m not remotely “anti-Semitic” and I’m completely in favor of protecting my Jewish friends and family from violence.

    I certainly don’t agree with the vitriol — I have nothing but respect for your intentions and feelings, and even if I didn’t I deplore any ad hominem attacks on you for voicing your views on your own blog — and yet, as a neutral, historical/academic observation, I certainly agree that “violence is the language of the oppressed.” The Israelites used such tactics against the Romans in the three Jewish-Roman wars of 66-136 CE, and more recently against the British.

    Our U.S. history is founded on a violent revolution against oppression, and the indigenous populations of North America certainly used violence against civilian colonists, although they’re more often called “savages” because they didn’t win.

    Hamas is a terrorist organization. I say that categorically. That doesn’t exclude the possibility that they’re also freedom fighters. To be very clear, from what I know of their leaders and their actions, I don’t at all approve of their positions — and I certainly don’t approve of the violence that they have perpetrated. Hamas is not a legitimate government, and does not speak for the people of Palestine, even to the extent that many may see them as the lesser of two evils.

    Neither do I approve of the violence that the IDF has perpetrated against innocent Palestinians. According to the UN (whose accuracy I’m not competent to assess) from 2008 to the middle of 2023 (i.e., before October) the Palestinian death rate due to Israeli violence is 35 times that of the Israeli death rate due to Palestinian violence (per the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs )

    I don’t know what a good solution would be, and I’ve known since high school (50 years ago) that a peaceful, democratic one-state solution would result in that state becoming a Jewish-minority state due to birth rates and immigration. I respect that such is not palatable to many Jews, and I sympathize.

    None of this stops me from thinking that the tactics of the IDF towards Palestinians are not objectively better than the tactics of Hamas towards Israelis. I respect your subjective view that there is a moral difference, but morality, like history, is written by the winners. (I’m not remotely religious anymore, but I note that even stories from the Bible describe acceptable levels of collateral damage to secure the freedom and security of particular groups; human history and mythology is full of violence in the name of freedom and preservation.)

  15. JimV Says:

    48% of people 18-24 lack the brain development, information, and experience to make valid judgements. I know I did, and I saw the same thing in my young nephews and nieces. Some may not grow out of it, but many will. It also occurs to me that 50% of any age group have IQ’s of 100 or less.

  16. Vrushali Says:

    Dr. Aaronson there can be some mistake ,some manipulation or something wrong with this survey. I don’t think that ‘48% young people support hamas over Israel’ can be true. There has to be some explanation somewhere about some mistake or something. This is just too damn serious that our youngsters (and hence we too )are such a scary disaster. Also someone in some other post said you might look back at your post later and feel ashamed of your angry responses. Whereas exactly the opposite is what I feel when I read your responses that how can you be so dignified in your responses inspite of the given circumstances. We are actually talking about hiding, floorboards …!And we thought we are in the 21st century.

  17. danny landau Says:

    Hi Scott,

    I think you might be taking this a bit too personal, and this is coming from a fellow Israeli (living in the US now).

    Sad I have to state the obvious, but you should be more cynical. For example, the stats that you mention regarding that close to 50% of our youngsters support Hamas should be viewed in context. They are stupid! Like most kids at that age and like we all used to be.

    If instead, the question was do you support ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Taliban, etc… pick you alphabet soup of Islamic organizations, the same demographic will answer the same.

    So, this has nothing to do with Israel (or Jews), just that kids tend to be left wing when young, and move over to the center (or right) as they mature and get older.

    A quote attributed to Churchill (but invented by a French academic) that you probably heard before is apropos here — ‘If You Are Not a Liberal When You Are Young, You
    Have No Heart, and If You Are Not a Conservative
    When Old, You Have No Brain’

    I’m sure you understand all of this at some level, and I’m repeating the obvious, but these things should be kept in context and should not be taken personally. I’m sure that if you meet one of these kids later in life, they will be ashamed of their position about this issue, but more likely, they will have many other items they will be ashamed of even more, like we all did before we matured and became a bit wiser. After-all, the majority of people once they cross a certain threshold are in support of Israel by a factor of 9:1.

    If there is a silver lining that comes out of this attack by Hamas is two fold:
    One, is that Hamas will be wiped out and made a footnote in history (the same as some of the terrorist organization mentioned above that were in the news constantly just 10 years ago).
    Second, the Netanyahu government and his ilk will be removed from power and a more moderate government will take its place.

    Those two positives are not small, and I look forward to both.

  18. Raoul Ohio Says:

    Pretty sure that 48% is way misleading.

    As someone living in a college town and interacting with a lot of younger people, I am confident that the vast majority know nothing about Hamas and have no opinion on the matter. There is also a sizable contingent that find it fashionable to be against everything. Furthermore, most students have no idea who is Jewish, and don’t much care.

  19. Xitram Esrevni Says:

    As a long-standing admirer of your blog, and with great appreciation for your well-crafted insight, the recent wave of harsh vilification directed towards you, as expressed in your words, deeply saddens me.

    The discourse where the phrase “violence is the language of the oppressed” has been bandied about indicates that many in this country lack a proper civics education. The ethos of the oppressed should always be to seek peaceful diplomacy at the outset, rarely resorting to violence as a last-ditch effort when all other avenues have been exhausted. One can debate such a ‘red line.’

    I am particularly curious about how your perspective as an educator has changed, especially in a climate where some students might view you as “the problem” and may harbor intentions to exploit or cause you harm for their gain.

  20. Nin Says:

    I guess such is the emotiveness of this issue that I have to point out an obvious fallacy to a brilliant computer scientist: Even if the respondents in the survey *are* well informed, that someone sympathizes more with Hamas than with Israel tells you literally nothing about how much they sympathize with Hamas. And it *certainly* doesn’t allow you to infer anything about the likelihood that they want you “slaughtered.” That’s a ridiculous leap of logic. Israel is one of the most hated countries in the world, and despite what you may believe, most of that hatred is due to its cruelty and racism and has nothing to do with antisemitism. American college kids don’t want to “slaughter” a random American Jewish man doing math. Breathe.

  21. Raoul Ohio Says:

    Also want to agree with I #5.

    Public positions on many issues draw a lot of flak — that’s the way it is. Paying a lot of attention to it will make anyone crazy. I think it is a good idea to try to ignore it and/or not read it at all.

    As far as worrying about where things in the US are going, the rightwing Trump nuts are VERY scary. On the other hand, leftwing nuts are a joke. Most of them are stoners yammering fashionable memes.

  22. Ilya M. Says:

    Not all Gentiles’ floorboards are equally useful. If “your” Gentile happens to be a communist, or the Socialist, or the trade-unionist…, the shelter won’t protect you for long.

    This is to say, sympathy and support from people from the same part of the political spectrum (the “old-school” liberal left) may be comforting but hardly guaranteeing long-term survival.

  23. Danylo Yakymenko Says:

    I heard a story from my family members about Babi Yar mass execution of Jews in the Nazi occupied Kyiv in 1941. There was a huge procession, people came with their children and goods because most thought they will be deported. The realization came too late. But one girl was able to escape the column and later was adopted by professor’s family, who were neighbors of her family. Though I don’t know the details and what was next.

    The horrors of the past are still there, they still exists, as well as virtues. What the world could have lost is the connections with them. And so they are bound to repeat. But in the modern context – with WMDs, AI and other super powers. And I agree with fred – the virtual reality is at least partially responsible for the lost connection with the “real” reality. By the way, AI is making it worse, since it’s able to generate fake, but real looking alternative reality. Like fake news stories, fake online comments from “witnesses”, fake footage, etc. Of course, AI is just a tool. The source of danger comes from those, who control it.

  24. Scott Says:

    Tom Marshall #14: Despite everything that’s happened, I feel like two states remain the overwhelmingly best solution. I hope we’ll someday reach a place where the Palestinians are ready to accept it for the time, and simultaneously the Israelis are ready to accept it for the fourth or fifth or whatever it is time.

    If you think there’s no “objective difference” between Hamas’s tactics and the IDF’s, then I just fundamentally disagree with you. For starters: the IDF doesn’t parade around the naked, mutilated bodies of murdered Palestinian women on the backs of trucks while onlookers cheer. Why does that matter? Because it speaks to the question of intent, which everyone acknowledges as absolutely crucial in contexts other than this one. Hamas would slaughter every Jewish man, woman, and child if they could—they proudly say so! Whereas for all the criticisms I have of Israel under the disgraceful Netanyahu, we know they wouldn’t do likewise, because they could, and they haven’t.

  25. Scott Says:

    Vrushali #16:

      someone in some other post said you might look back at your post later and feel ashamed of your angry responses. Whereas exactly the opposite is what I feel when I read your responses that how can you be so dignified in your responses inspite of the given circumstances

    Thank you so much for saying that.

  26. Dan Staley Says:

    Hi Scott. I haven’t commented on this blog recently because I haven’t yet felt like I have much to add to this conversation. But since it seems necessary these days, I’ll start by just affirming: I think Hamas is in the wrong when they kill innocent civilians, just as I think the Israeli military is in the wrong when they kill innocent civilians.

    But the reason I’m commenting now is to make a plea to you: As you feel yourself radicalized, as you feel the anger and desperation welling up in you, make sure you take a moment to realize there are civilians in Palestine who go through the exact same feelings, with the roles of Israel and Palestine reversed. And this is how Hamas swells their ranks and gains power.

    I’m not saying this to try and build empathy or excuses for Hamas. I’m saying it because it’s important that we understand how they operate – not in terms of military strikes, but in the long-term matters of recruitment and perpetuation of their ideology.

    One could, in a way, view this entire conflict as Israeli hardliners and Hamas on one side, and people who want peace on the other – those who want war vs. those who don’t. I count myself firmly in the latter camp, and I hope you continue to, as well, even through times like these.

  27. Scott Says:

    danny landau #17:

      the stats that you mention regarding that close to 50% of our youngsters support Hamas should be viewed in context. They are stupid! Like most kids at that age and like we all used to be.

    Raoul Ohio #18:

      Pretty sure that 48% is way misleading.

      As someone living in a college town and interacting with a lot of younger people, I am confident that the vast majority know nothing about Hamas and have no opinion on the matter.

    Of course I considered the “they’re just young and stupid” theory, and I hope it turns out to be correct.

    On the other side, many people (especially, e.g., older liberal centrists) counseled everyone not to panic about all the militantly woke college kids, since they’d obviously grow out of it once they entered the workforce. But that’s not what happened. Instead they took the militant ideology with them, and are still in the process of transforming our civilization away from values (individualism, merit, science, hard work, colorblindness…) that thoughtful liberals and conservatives used to agree about. Thus, why shouldn’t exactly the same happen with American support for Israel?

  28. Scott Says:

    Xitram #19:

      I am particularly curious about how your perspective as an educator has changed, especially in a climate where some students might view you as “the problem” and may harbor intentions to exploit or cause you harm for their gain.

    Fortunately, in 17 years of teaching and advising, I’ve never once personally encountered a student who I had any reason to believe saw either my political views or my ethnicity as a problem, although they could easily learn what they were (for example, from this blog). Maybe it’s a selection effect? I don’t know.

  29. Vrushali Says:

    danny landau#17 Wait! What ! No! No one has the right to pretend “innocence” or “stupidity”. And certainly not 18 year olds. Thats an adult. Get up, grow up ,take responsibility. If not for anything do take responsibility for your own words and thoughts. Or else admit to being a idiot and shut up. Do not take part in surveys you know nothing about. Also l wouldn’t quote Churchill when i am having any ‘humanitarian’ discussion.

  30. Scott Says:

    Nin #20: Well, I hope you turn out to be right! But I was incredibly shaken yesterday by a long exchange with one particular student, who called herself an “indigenous activist” and said she was surrounded by dozens of other students who thought similarly. And I kept trying to provide her an off-ramp, where she could condemn the IDF, support Palestinian rights, etc. etc., while also affirming that she didn’t want me or my relatives to be murdered … and she never took it. She just kept repeating her junior-Maoist-league slogans about how “violence is the language of the oppressed” and so forth.

  31. marris Says:

    > violence is the language of the oppressed

    Scott, I know we’re supposed to be generous with those who disagree with us, but this is so stupid on so many levels that I have to believe that you’re being trolled. First of all, why “of the oppressed”? Why not “of the oppressor”? Doesn’t the latter convey decency while also maintaining the “bumper sticker pithiness”?

    I recently listened to a podcast episode of The Remnant by Jonah Goldberg in which he concludes that post-modernism is great at generating turns of phrase, but it is useless for generating coherent thoughts or intellectual understanding. I wish it weren’t so, but that’s the type of person you’re trying to debate: a bumper sticker generator. Don’t let the bastards’ hate grind you down. You are smarter and more moral than them, in no small part because you believe that knowledge and morality exist independently of bumper stickers, or emotions, or slogans shouted by mobs, or fashion/aesthetics. These are alien concepts to the folks you’re trying to convince.

  32. Scott Says:

    Dan Staley #26: I agree 100% with everything you said—including about how difficult it is to maintain that enlightened perspective while being swarmed by the “river to the sea” people.

  33. Scott Says:

    marris #31: Right, wouldn’t it be better to say that violence is a “language” that all humans, regardless of their position, can choose to speak or not speak?

    What she meant, of course, was that violence can be excused whenever it’s committed by anyone she considers to be “oppressed.” This doctrine is horrifyingly wrong both in principle and in practice.

  34. Jamie Radcliffe Says:

    This summer I learnt that the parents of one of my son’s Jewish friends had “flee for our lives” money stashed in their house. I was surprised, but the level of anti-Semitism revealed by the war has made clear to me how right they are. It’s awful.

  35. Scott Says:

    Jamie #34: For better or worse, we don’t have a stash of “flee for our lives” money or anything like that.

    I’m well aware that, by historical standards, the US and other Anglo countries remain ridiculously safe for Jews—certainly safer than Israel right now. And I’m grateful for that.

    The big question is whether that continues once the 48%-Hamas-supporting generation comes of age.

  36. AG Says:

    Scott #35: Germany was ridiculously safe for Jews by historical standards in 1928.

    I think the prevalence of antisemitism in the US is real but 48% number strikes me as suspect.
    What is also suspect is the clear manipulation/amplification of divisions around this issue, with some of the techniques employed eerily reminiscent of those detailed in Mueller’s report.

  37. Travis Says:

    I’ve been meaning to make a comment to thank you for your book and all the lecture materials you share online. I am a cryptographer, but I read it while I was on sabbatical and it inspired me to do a deep dive into quantum computing, then quantum mechanics, then particle physics… Now I am teaching quantum computing for the first time this year and your lecture notes have been invaluable to me pedagogically.

    I’m very sorry you, and others suffering around the world, are going through this. I don’t have anything helpful to add, except that you and your work are appreciated.

    Aside: 0% of my students support Hamas… but I do have a biased sample since I teach at a service academy.

  38. Seth Finkelstein Says:

    Scott, given how much of my life I’ve wasted in pointless Internet arguments, I don’t have much moral standing for the following advice (or maybe I do, talking from experience to advise someone not to make similar mistakes): If this sort of interaction is so harmful to your mental health, STOP DOING IT. Some people are just not suited for this type of public engagement, and it seems to have a particularly bad effect on you. I understand the motivation, to make a positive change in the world. But you can’t do that if the most dime-a-dozen rhetorical poseur (“Up Against The Wall, Traitor To The Revolution!”) sends you into something like an anxiety attack. Really, there is no shortage of people debating Israel/Palestine, on every side. If you post a petition, consider just shutting off comments, because no good will come of the results otherwise.

  39. AG Says:

    On the other hand, I have no reasons to doubt the 48% number  in the following (from the report by David Remnick): “A poll published in the newspaper Ma’ariv six days after the massacre showed that forty-eight per cent of Israelis preferred that Benny Gantz, a phlegmatic retired Army general and a centrist politician who was brought into a new unity government, lead the country; only twenty-nine per cent preferred Netanyahu. “

  40. Michael Says:

    I honestly don’t get the hysteria exhibited by Scott as well as a lot of Israelis and Jews with Israeli connections. They make it sound like Hamas is a threat comparable to Nazi Germany and that anti-Semites are about to roam the streets looking for people like Scott to beat up.

    I’m Jewish too, pretty obvious, and living in the USA. I don’t feel at all threatened. I actually am sick of the whole Hamas-Israel conflict dominating the news. This 48 percent of 18-24 year olds thing is just “something on the internet”. Most 18-24 year olds aren’t well-informed or particularly interested in this war, and who knows how accurate this survey is. Here Scott is talking about Nazis and floorboards. Come on… the USA, including Texas, is very friendly towards Jewish people. It’s harder being black or gay or any number of other things. Compare the laws being passed against transgendered people to reading mean things said about Jews on the internet by some guy in Turkey. Yes, there are horrible people saying horrible things on the internet. But just tune them out, geez.

  41. Yonah Borns-Weil Says:

    I had a conversation online with a friend a week ago, who read my response to one of your last posts and messaged me saying he was kind of worried about academia and younger generations. Here’s my response, which sort of summarizes my thoughts on that poll. I regret to say it doesn’t have a super clear conclusion. My messages to him:

    -Right I guess I have a bunch of conflicting thoughts.

    -1. My first thought is that I should be worried. The data say like 46% of 18-24 year olds support Hamas, I can’t ignore that just cause I don’t like it.

    -2. My second thought is that I’ve sort of been hearing this my whole life. When I was a kid I heard all about “rising anti-Israel sentiment” among youth. My mom was a political activist right out of college, and she said all her colleagues supported Israel’s enemies back then. So maybe I shouldn’t worry?

    -3. My third thought though is that maybe we’re in a boiling frog scenario. Like it’s possible that anti Israel sentiment has been rising continuously, and what’s considered “anti Israel” has changed. Like could it be that anti Israel used to be people boycotting and divesting, and now is actively supporting terrorist groups?

    -4. My fourth thought is that if the US has gotten more anti Israel, it sure hasn’t shown in our elected officials. The US government is as supportive as it’s always been, so clearly the electorate hasn’t changed that much, right?

    -5. My fifth thought is like, if the sentiment is the same and young people get less anti Israel as they get older, can I like, observe that happening?

    -It has happened with a couple politicians/public figures who used to be completely anti Israel and are now pretty neutral with nuanced opinions. I can’t remember who, though I remember noting they were almost all black.

    -I sort of think some people do actually change their opinions as they get older, but I think it’s cause their opinions were never really what Scott Aaronson thought they were. They don’t hate Jews, they just don’t think about Jews at all and think of us as “white people”

    -And like they’re aware of the holocaust but just think of it as something white people did to other white people (remember the Whoopi Goldberg controversy?)

    -So they hate Israel, but hate it exactly as much as they would if all the Zionist Israelis of the 1940/ were, like, Swedish or something

    -And that’s a more “brittle” opinion than hating Jews that breaks as they learn more

    -Idk I think I’m kind of in the middle when it comes to Israel Palestine (Palestine meaning Fatah and civilians not Hamas obv) but the couple times I actually engaged with people who were strongly anti Israel, it was productive and they were like “yeah I guess I can see where you’re coming from”

    But a note on the last one; that was just my experience, and it sounds like yours was really different.

  42. Scott Says:

    Michael #40: I’m trying hard to react neither more nor less than is warranted. On the one hand, I grew up with stories of right-wing rednecks who hated Jews, and while that surely still exists somewhere, to my knowledge I’ve never encountered it once in 42 years. Certainly not here in Texas. On the other hand, I was pretty fearful back at Berkeley in 2002, when the campus was convulsed by giant anti-Israel marches (which I witnessed), including one that shouted down a Holocaust remembrance event, as well as anti-Jewish vandalism and beating incidents. Speaking of which, you have seen that Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, and many other campuses have been all but taken over by anti-Israel “resistance” protests and graffiti and threats, which started when Israel was attacked, not when it started defending itself, haven’t you? Thus, as I said, the real question is what happens when the students organizing these pro-Hamas rallies become the next leaders of society.

  43. Nilima Nigam Says:

    To comment #3:

    If you’re going to attribute a quote to Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., get it right. The quote is ‘A riot is the language of the oppressed.’ MLK said this, also making clear he did not support or endorse rioting.

    Neither excused the deliberate and targetted murder of children, or the sharing of media with this murder as a prized grisly tidbit to celebrate.

    Gandhi (ˈgændɪ’) is the correct transliteration.

    In summary: if you’re tempted to throw around quotes as excuses for atrocities – try not to compound your clear immorality with an abject display of ignorance.

  44. Hyman Rosen Says:

    Violence is indeed the language of the oppressed, and so it very much puzzles me why you are thinking in terms of hiding under floorboards. You should be getting a gun permit, firearms training, and purchasing a handgun, a shotgun, and an AR-15 with a large magazine and a ton of ammunition. If they come for you, you should not hide from them, you should kill them. And as the saying goes, a year from now you’ll wish you had started today.

    The only thing that surprises me about all this is how surprised liberal Jews are that their fellow travelers are cheering piles of Jewish corpses. Every single thing about woke ideology is poison and death, whether it’s the belief that men can be women, that America was founded in order to perpetuate slavery, that the only reason for Black failure is systemic racism, or that we must defund police and prisons and let criminals rampage with impunity.

    You should be explaining to your idiot woke ideologue and Muslim terrorist sympathizer and anti-semite interlocutors and your both-sides-have-a-point equivocators (like Tom Marshall – Hey Tom, is that you from Bloomberg? If so, hi, long time no speak!) that Israel is going to respond to the attacks by killing the terrorists, and any atrocity-cheering civilians being used as human shields will be killed too, and that this will happen regardless of how much your interlocutors blather about human rights, and rules of war, and proportionality, and international Jewish conspiracies, and all of those things designed to stop the sword of retribution from falling.

    For the both-sides equivocators, you should be explaining that war is not a game, there is no referee to whom to appeal or bamboozle, and it is not up to third parties to decide whether an attack was justified, or fair, or a proper response to grievances. Sovereign nations make decisions based on their own analysis of benefits and costs, and they don’t let themselves be constrained by the motivated reasoning of others. So again, regardless of whether anyone else thinks Israel’s response is proper or proportional, and regardless of sad it makes the Palestinians feel, Israel will keep killing Palestinian terrorists and destroying their facilities.

    You are making a category error in expecting the people who are writing to you to come around to your point of view; this is communication on the internet, and the correct approach is to respond in a way that will drive them to inchoate rage, by pointing out that the things that they most desperately want are the things that will never happen.

    tl;dr – Be loud and angry, not sad and fearful.

  45. AG Says:

    My child is an undergraduate at Harvard at the moment and I followed the unfolding of events there closely.

    Personally, I do not find the synopsis of events amounting to “Harvard being *taken over* by anti-Israel “resistance” protests” as being accurate (or terribly helpful at this juncture)

  46. Michael Says:

    Michael #40 here. A considerable majority protesters at Harvard, Columbia, etc were Muslim. If you look at the names of the student organizations that signed the petition blaming Israel for Hamas’s actions, they were nearly all student organizations which were mostly or entirely Muslim, especially the ones that didn’t backtrack after the backlash. There certainly were some non-Muslim far-left activists involved, and many of them do genuinely believe Israel should be “decolonized” through violence. But my point is that the support for Hamas’s action comes from a very small subset of the young population… basically some far-left extremists and some chunk of the higher-achieving Muslim-American population that favors ethnic cleansing and genocide in Israel. It may be disturbing, but I don’t believe 40 years from now these “murder is OK if they deserve it” people are going to be in positions of power. The “squad” gets a lot of press but they’re not ever going to become president. Far-left views aren’t even increasing in popularity in the US.

    My point is that you really don’t have to get worked up over this admittedly repulsive part of US society. They’ve always been there, and now they’ve found their chance to show themselves. They make a lot of noise, but in the end of the day they’re not going to harm you or me, because they ultimately are cowards who don’t want to get into trouble. These Harvard activists who cheer on genocide probably are afraid at the sight of a cop. The people who anonymously curse the Jews online probably butter up their Jewish professors in the hope of eventually getting recommendation letters.

  47. James Gallagher Says:

    I just want to post what I posted a couple of years ago (May 15th 2021) (with grammar errors)

    it’s shameful for all humanity that Israel is so hated by large regions of the world.

    It should be celebrated that after the actual evil Nazis tried to exterminate jewish people they made a VERY successful tiny homeland in the middle-east.

    If the millions of Israelis move to a desert suburb of the US or Australia etc, it will be almost certainly be equally successful, while the land that is taken over by the Palestinians will probably not be.

    And then everyone can shut up about the jews

  48. Craig Says:

    I am guessing that people aged 18-24 got mixed up and thought Hamas was hummus like in the movie with Sacha Baron Cohen, Bruno. There is nothing to worry about. This is all from God and the Jewish people will prevail over our enemies like we always do. When I was 18-24, I was pretty stupid too.

  49. Ted Says:

    Scott, many other commenters have said this before, but: I truly believe that – whatever a few loudmouthed commenters may say – the vast majority of your blog readers are sane individuals who may disagree with you on some things around the edges, but are completely aligned with your fundamental moral worldview. In particular, we share your horror, disgust, and unreserved moral condemnation of the despicable atrocities that Hamas committed on October 7.

    Who knows about the rest of the country or the world, but I want to reassure you that when you write something – whether it be about quantum computing, AI, or the state of the world – (I think that) most of the people whom it reaches find it thought-provoking and informative, and engage with it substantively rather than just filtering it through some childish Manichean “oppressor/oppressed” dichotomy. I don’t believe that the commenters are representative of your readership.

    Please do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.

  50. Nin Says:

    Something else occurred to me. Ironically, I think these young people you’re so worried about would be some of the first to pass your “floorboard test” if American Jews ever come in any real danger. In the US, pro-Israel is the safe, easy, default position. I’m not aware of anyone losing their job because of a declaration of support for Israel, or even the worst most racist elements of it. Such a declaration should give you no assurance that the person making the declaration would be willing to take the same position if it somehow becomes costly or unpopular. On the other hand, in the US it takes a little courage to be anti-Zionist, and quite a lot of courage if you have a high profile job or even aspire to one — see recent events at Harvard and other cancellations. Obviously I don’t know these students you’ve talked to, but my guess is they are dismissive of your concerns because they perceive you to be a privileged, wealthy, secure westerner who is effectively a member of the ethnic, cultural majority. The second you actually become a member of an oppressed minority, I would expect that they would be some of the first to come to your defense, and to take risks to do that.

  51. Anpam Says:

    Dear Scott,

    I have been reading your blog for many years, always gaining some fresh perspective on the matters you write about. Thank you for doing this service to computer science.

    I had the good fortune to be in Israel several times hosted by warm and gracious collaborators at Technion, Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion. If this helps me saying it any way, here it goes – “I will defend you or anyone against the virulent anti-semitism that world is observing now.”

    In trying times like this, it is perhaps sensible to re-read the correspondence between Tolstoy and M. K. Gandhi, which influenced the course of Indian freedom struggle – . Violence is not the language of oppressed, rather it is the language of uncivilized, and coward. I truly hope that the people writing to you in such a harsh tone – rise above their sectarian worldview to appreciate the wonderful moments you gave us through your expositions on topics like Busy Beaver and Forrelation.

    Please keep writing.

    With best regards,

  52. Israeli far-left mathematician Says:

    >she said that if I “read a fucking book that’s not about computers,” I would understand that “violence is the language of the oppressed.”

    There is something amusing about how the people who glorify this kind of violence are those who never experienced real violence in their life, really just privileged people who dwell in hipster cafes while trying to sound as if they sleep with an AK under their pillow.

    Also, I think it’s time that we stop being terrified by being cancelled by pink haired kids on Twitter and start admitting this simple truth: Nazis come in all colors and flavors. Some of them happen to be white supremacists while others happen to be woke POC. All of them should be treated in the same way.

  53. Peter Halberg Says:


    I’m not sure that interacting with anti-semites via email is a good thing to do in general. Just delete the emails. There’s no point in interacting, as their whole purpose of interacting with you is simply to get you into a bad state of mind. They’re not going to listen to reason.

    Don’t stop blogging though. Yours is the best blog out there. People rely on your blog for inspiration.

    Best Wishes,


  54. Atheist Arab Says:

    Hello Scott, I hope you’re fine and for your friend’s family to get back together soon, safe and sound. I signed this petition ( as a direct result of your post.

    I’m about 95% sure you would perceive this comment as an expression of anti-semitism, and 60% you would not publish it. But whatever, I want to clarify to you an important point in the ideological phase space that is neither “Hell Yeah KILL PALI TERRORISTS ISRAEL” nor “Hell Yeah KILL THOSE JOOS HAMAS”. I’m hoping you would take mercy on the time I took to write and – at the very least – read it to the end even if you decide not to publish it.

    Your argument for the Israeli response sounds hypocritical to me, your position seems to be “No War Ever Justifies Murder Of Children ”, correct ? How can you not see that supporting Israel’s response seems to be in direct contradiction to that ?

    And this is what really made me angry about your last 2 posts before this one. You spent a lot of time mourning the children of Israelis, which is the moral thing to do, then you proceed to immediately support the Israeli response which has killed 8000 civilians until now (8x as much as the published Israeli statistics, and supported by a full list of names and addresses).

    Have you seen those 2 videos ? : 
    1- 4-7 years old boy shaking after an Israeli airstrike :
    2- Girl crying “I want Mama” :

    Why can’t the same conscience that feels tragedy and rage when it sees Israeli children feel the same tragedy and rage when it sees those children ?

    How do you justify the Israeli response ? Because their war is justified ? Hamas sees their war as very justified too. Do you want the moral question of “Is it okay to kill children ?” to be slaved to the geopolitical/historical question of “Does the Child-Killer have a valid legal claim to the land they’re killing children in ?” ? Do you think that a yes answer to the second implies a yes, or even a maybe, answer to the first ?

    As far as I know, Scott, there are only 2 valid non-hypocritical moral positions here :

    1- Anyone who kills or harms children, regardless of any other consideration no matter what they are or how convincing they feel, is scum and should be tried and punished as soon as possible after the murder spree ends

    2- Killing children is okay as long as there is a good reason to

    If you adopt (1), then you are obligated to condemn the IDF exactly as much (as a matter of fact, slightly less than 8 times as much) as you do Hamas, ***Even If You Politically Agree With Their Side***. If you adopt (2), then you’re not obligated to condemn and call out the IDF’s war crimes, but you also lose the right to call out people who support Hamas, they’re doing the exact same thing as you. I happen to adopt (1).

    What did I miss ? Is there a third position ?

    >And also: deliberately gunning down Jewish (or any) children is wrong.

    This is another thing that peeves me about this. In what sense is the IDF not “deliberately” targeting kids, Scott ? Are the F-16s flying on their own ? Are the bomb bay doors opening on their own ?

    You’re no doubt saying now that “deliberately” here is implied to be in a wider sense of the word, like, maybe the IDF wasn’t literally forced but “metaphorically” forced. I ask you : In what sense is this different from literally any other justification for war crimes ? Is your standard for war crimes that the war criminal must get on TV and say “YES, WAR CRIMES ARE VERY GOOD, I JUST COMMITTED WAR CRIMES AND I FEEL VERY GOOD”, anything else and it’s not war crimes ?

    **Everyone**, literally everyone, perceives their actions to be justified, and perceives all bad deeds they do as the necessary and the inevitable consequence to what others forced upon them. I’m sure that if you ask Ben Laden, he will tell you all about how 9/11 was just the tragic consequence of US actions and military bases in the Middle East, they simply forced his hand. I’m sure that if you asked any rapist, he would tell you all about how she was asking for it.

    Intent doesn’t matter, Scott. I could be the most vile, misognyistic man in existence who hate women so much it hurts and think raping them is A-Okay, but I happen to be stupid and weak so I only rape 1400 women before getting caught. You could be the most egalitarian man in existence who never so much as looked at a woman wrong, but you happen to get drunk and horny someday so, being smart and well-funded, you manage to rape 8000 women before getting caught. I hope you agree that you will be the bigger criminal in this scenario. Your actual, concrete, physical actions – which is the only thing that external observers get to see for sure about you – point in the direction that you did vastly more harm than me.

    In the end, I want to point to Comment #44 to make a point. I will not dignify this genocidal drivel with a response, I will just notice that you allowed it to be published (because every comment here is explicitly approved by you, correct ?), so you managed to find enough dehumanization of Arabs and Palestinians in you to approve a comment that, very thinly-veiled-ingly, cheers on and celebrates the ongoing murder of civilians and kids. I don’t do this to blame you, I can’t, I’m not in your position. I also don’t do this to ask you to remove it, I know you will ignore this request and I’m a Free Speech nut anyway so I’m very much in favor of people like commenter #44 to show their true colors and be countered by more Free Speech, not silenced.

    I do this only to make you understand – not sympathize with – the people who cheer Israeli deaths. The very thing that makes commenter #44 (and to a lesser extent, you) see nothing wrong with cheering on the deaths of ” any atrocity-cheering civilians being used as human shields will be killed too, and that this will happen regardless of how much [anyone] blather about human rights”, is the very same thing that makes others cheer on for the death of the Israelis, which they also thinly-veiled-ingly cover with justifying adjectives like “colonists” and “settlers”. This mad rage, this blind lust for revenge, is actually the same organism [1], it inhabits all and expresses itself in their tongue accordingly.

    Anyway, I wish you all well. I want to say “May No More Children Be Killed” but I know this to be false. So : May As Few Children Be Killed As Possible.


  55. Scott Says:

    Atheist Arab #54: I regard every child who’s been killed in Gaza as a tragedy. The pictures are unbearable to look at, just like the pictures of the kibbutzim that turned into killing fields.

    But yes, I do think there’s a third position you’re missing. For me, everything comes down to the question of intent.

    The IDF is trying not to kill children. It would kill literally zero children, if it were possible to do that consistently with its goal of defeating Hamas. They try roof knocks, they try phoning civilians in advance, and in this war they’ve tried evacuating all the civilians to the south to get them out of harm’s way. If you don’t believe that the IDF would kill zero Gazan children on moral grounds, then believe it because every dead child in Gaza helps to turn world opinion against Israel, as the IDF knows exceedingly well. The problem is that Hamas also knows it, so they operate in such a way that Israeli strikes will kill as many Gazan civilians as possible—for example, by firing missiles at Israel from the vicinity of schools and hospitals. This makes Hamas, not Israel, primarily responsible for every child who gets killed.

    But if we look at the other side, Hamas would kill every Jewish child in the world if it could. They announced that they would in their charter, and they did murder as many Jewish children as they could on October 7 (excepting the ones they kidnapped), even proudly filming themselves doing it, and even though it served no military objective whatsoever other than to terrorize.

    This is the distinction. If people can’t see the importance of this distinction, then I despair of ever explaining it to them, but at least I hope the distinction is clear.

    This distinction also makes it perfectly clear what it would take to change my sympathies in this conflict. If we consider Itamar Ben-Gvir, for example—well, I wouldn’t put it past him at all to kill Palestinian children just for the sake of killing them. That’s one of many reasons why I’ve consistently opposed Netanyahu’s coalition (even attending a protest against it in Israel), because it does include Hamas-like extremists. On the other hand, even Netanyahu wouldn’t order Palestinian children killed just for the hell of it, as proven by the fact that he could have, but hasn’t. That’s not to say Netanyahu is a moral man (he isn’t), only that he’s more moral than Hamas, which is a world-historically low bar.

  56. Adam Treat Says:

    The woke crowds that utter this support for Hamas are deluded just like the Bolivian nazis. If the kids holding up “LGBTQ for Hamas!” signs actually tried to enter Gaza they would be murdered. It is just embarrassing stupidity.

  57. Vrushali Says:

    Anupam #51 Gandhi was responsible for everything that went wrong in the Indian freedom struggle. His every thought , word , and action were criminal. Lets not ask Israel to follow him. Anyway Israel’s leaders are not corrupt, criminal, greedy , extremely selfish like some of ours during the freedom struggle.
    Nilima Nigam #43 Gandhi DID say killing innocents is ok.
    Gandhi said “Hindus should not harbor anger in their hearts against Muslims even if the latter wanted to destroy them.

    India has had innumerable great leaders, philosophers, and thinkers. Christians, Muslims, Jews , Parsis everyone who fled their lands in fear of persecution or conversions found safe home in Bharat since thousands of years . Lets not project our cowardly and selfish side and pretend that thats the ideal.

  58. Adam Treat Says:

    Atheist Arab, yours is the pacifist rant. I know it well and am very familiar with it. You understand hate. You understand how it can blind and justify outrageous and horrific actions. It is also a very righteous rant. It comes across as more-moral-than-thou. It is a very safe and comfortable rant for the rant giver. You can look at yourself and feel very comfortable and happy with how moral you are. Everyone else wants to kill kids, but you – YOU – would never condone killing kids.

    It is also an entirely selfish rant with zero skin in the game. It makes you feel good about your moral position, but doesn’t actually help anyone or anything. Let’s say you succeed in converting your fellow interlocutors to the moral high ground of your position. What then? Should they also take part in your marvelous pacifist rant and do nothing else?

    Why don’t you put some skin in the game? How about you tell us how Israel should respond to the horrors of October 7th? Should they declare a ceasefire right now? Allow life in Gaza to continue on as before it did on October 7th? Allow the perpetrators of October 7th to continue on perpetrating more October 7ths?

    Why don’t you tell us how all the children murdered in World War II by the Allied side – MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF CHILDREN btw – indicate that the Allied side should have just put down their weapons. Tell us what would have happened to the world had the United States, the UK, and all the other allied countries had just let Hitler have his way? What would have happened to the concentration camps? What would have happened to the world?

    The pacifist rant feels good. It makes some logical sense. But it is devoid of action. And action is needed to prevent Hamas from carrying out another October 7th. So get down off your righteous platform and tell us how to ensure October 7th doesn’t happen again.

  59. Vanessa Kosoy Says:

    As an Israeli, I am also shocked by the reactions of the so-called “pro-Palestinian” left in the West. I put “pro-Palestinian” in air quotes since obviously Hamas is terrible for Palestinians as well as for Israelis, and there’s nothing pro-Palestinian in supporting it.

    Since before the war, I have been extremely concerned about the superconservative ruling coalition and deeply saddened about where Israeli politics went over the years. I’m sickened by racists and religious/nationalist fanatics such as Ben Gvir, and strongly opposed to expanding the settlements and other acts of oppression towards the Palestinians. I’ve been seriously considering leaving this country, and would do so long ago if not for friends and relatives I would have to leave behind.

    Now though? A part of me wants to stay here forever just as a middle finger to the Hamas. And another, even bigger, part of me is terrified about moving to a country where purported intellectual elites can support the brutal rape, torture and murder of people just like me and my children.

  60. fred Says:

    Scott #35

    “The big question is whether that continues once the 48%-Hamas-supporting generation comes of age.”

    American Jews already have plenty of antisemitism to worry about at the highest levels of government, on both sides.
    All the bullshit that’s constantly being spewed is slowly but steadily poisoning the well:

  61. John Schilling Says:

    Atheist Arab #40: “What did I miss ? Is there a third position ?”

    Yes, there is a third position, and you’re not going to like it but it’s the right position anyway.

    For most of the past few years, my feelings on the Arab-Israeli conflict have been roughly characterized by “a pox on both your houses”. Israel’s policies in the West Bank have been frankly atrocious, and the Netanyahu administration at times makes Donald Trump look like the voice of reason. The Palestinians and their allies haven’t done much better, but the Israelis set the bar low enough that they haven’t done much worse.

    But that’s changed. Deliberately killing civilians for the sake of killing the other side’s, civilians, is murder. It is tragic, it is wrong, it is illegal in any civilized society, it marks the killers as basically pure evil. Trying to kill terrorists, or enemy soldiers in a just war, is not wrong or criminal, it is laudable. And if the terrorists are standing next to or hiding behind civilians, such that those civilians will surely die with the terrorists, then shooting at the terrorists still isn’t a crime. The laws of war are quite clear about that – the war crime, if any, is committed by the people who hide behind civilians while waging war. It has to be, because any other law leads to the world being conquered by the sort of people who would use civilians as human shields.

    Hamas, murders civilians, including but not limited to children. Put Hamas in a room with Jewish civilians and nothing but Jewish civilians, no decision to be made but “should we kill a bunch of Jewish civilians because they are Jews”, and Hamas kills a bunch of Jews. We’ve just seen this. This is a tragedy, and it is a tragedy that is 100% Hamas’s fault.

    Hamas, puts its strongpoints and command centers in the most densely populated part of Gaza, and fires its rockets from sites surrounded by innocent civilians. So when the IDF shoots back, as they must, Arab civilians die in large numbers. This is a tragedy, and it is a tragedy that is 100% Hamas’s fault.

    So “a pox on both your houses”, that part is over. On October 7, Hamas started waving the “We’re the baddies, yes, us, not those other guys, we’re the absolute worst and don’t you forget it” flag. They put themselves 100% on the side of evil, of deliberate murder for the sake of murder plus secondhand murder for the sake of hiding from the consequences of the deliberate murder. I understand *why* Hamas does it this way, but that’s like saying I understand why the Nazis killed six million Jews. Understanding does not mean acceptance.

    Hamas, must be removed from power in Gaza. That is no longer negotiable. This will predictably lead to thousands of horrific tragedies. It still needs to be done, and it will be done. And having a finite capacity for sympathy, approximately all of mine is for the people who are stuck with the difficult, dangerous, unrewarding task of removing Hamas from Gaza while still grieving for their own murdered children.

    And here in the west, in the face of a massive new wave of wholly inappropriate antisemitism directed against people who for the most part aren’t even Israelis, the righteous Gentiles must do better than just hiding Jews under the floorboards. I think we’re up for it.

    Hamas Delenda Est

  62. Theorist, Israel Says:

    First, I’d like to send my thanks to Scott, for his courageous stand in vocally defending Israel in its legal war against the atrocious unprecedented war crimes committed by the Palestinian Hamas.

    Second, this comment section yet again is about to deteriorate to the same documented war crime justification and irrational moral equivalence between a country working within the remit of accepted warfare against a hostile territory controlled by a government whose militants cook live babies in the oven and mass rape women, intentionally.

    There is not much more to say than what Scott said: there is a clear distinction between deliberate torture, rape, beheading, burning civilians alive on the one hand, and bombing a terror headquarter situated beneath a residential building and hence killing many citizens on the other hand.
    The former are war crimes and the latter are not. The former is completely immoral, and the latter is moral (or at least much much less immoral) by all conventional conception of morality known in the history of thought.

    Perhaps the only fringe moral school who contest this clear distinction is indeed the post-colonial far-left school of thought eminent on Western universities. To them, I propose the following challenge, exposing for all the absurdity and extremism they espouse:

    “Could any one of you please provide a single example of a war that you consider to be moral, and legal within the remit of international combat laws, in the last 50 years, preferably between a state and an entity controlled by guerilla militants and proscribed terror groups?”

  63. fred Says:

    Michael #40

    “I’m Jewish too, pretty obvious, and living in the USA. I don’t feel at all threatened. I actually am sick of the whole Hamas-Israel conflict dominating the news.”

    I’m neither Jewish nor Arab, but I understand why the conflict is dominating the news.
    World tensions have been rising and rising for a few years: the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the alignment of Russia-Iran-China, Iran’s quest for the nukes, China and Taiwan, China vs the US, coups in Africa, the constant provocations from North Korea, huge migration crisis in Europe, world wide inflation after covid,…
    many can’t wait for the world to erupt and shake the world order.

    Other powers, that weren’t directly involved (like India and Turkey), were walking a thin line in the middle of all this (even Israel was slow to condemn Putin when he invaded Ukraine)… but are being forced to take a clearer side, like Erdogan now openly supporting Hamas (it wasn’t that long ago that he was shaking hands with Netanyahu).

    So, the situation has been at a boiling point for a while now, and the Hamas-Israel war will be the spark that ignites a massive barrel of black powder.

  64. Adam Treat Says:

    Just a reminder to that ~40% or more that supports Hamas… this is what the world will look like if Hamas wins:

    Women are beaten and killed for not wearing the hijab. Now imagine how they might respond to your LGBTQ parade. Imagine how they might respond to your social justice initiatives. The social justice left who sides with Hamas are the most naive and coddled and backwards myopic adult-children in existence.

  65. Ryan Says:

    I am from an extremely secular American Jewish family that dispensed with all but the most essential Jewish traditions over the last several generations, perhaps in part to help outwardly conceal our Jewish identity after the trauma of Holocaust. I eventually came to view that attitude as paranoid, unnecessary, even cowardly. Ironically though, this has led to me sometimes experiencing a mild sort of anti-Semmitism that more overtly Jewish Jews are spared; e.g., you hear a lot more “Jew jokes” when people think you’re gentile. Alienating, but never truly scary.

    However, the last month has confirmed that, unfortunately, my grandparents were not so paranoid after all. Indeed, anti-Semmitism has a temperature that can fluctuate much more rapidly than I expected, even despite all the warnings of family history. For me this perfectly clarifies the necessity of having a strong Jewish state. Whether this 48% statistic mostly reflects ignorance, or portends the future of American sentiments, it is deeply concerning. Israel’s military may outclass that of most of its enemies today, but if Israel loses American support then perhaps the long term existential threat to the state (something I’ve sometimes written off as a conservative Israeli talking point) is not so far-fetched. From a purely pragmatic perspective, this also underscores the long term strategic importance of Israel conducting the current military campaign with the utmost concern for minimizing civilian suffering in Gaza. If Israel defeats Hamas but at the cost of the support of the average American, it would be much worse off.

    How, as an American Jew, can I help to turn that 48% statistic around to help ensure American support for Israel in 30 years? Scott, do you think highly of any non-profit organizations that are committed to this goal? Perhaps the ADL? My grandparents didn’t have a lot in 48 but they were proud to donate what they could to help support the war effort then. Today, it’s more complicated because I am generally appalled by Netanyahu and his illiberal government (I see them as one of the greatest long term threats to Israel). Relatedly, what organizations do you trust to be working towards supporting the long-term viability of Israel? I have to imagine that this will involve helping to influence support for Israel world-wide, supporting a more liberal Israeli government that is still committed to Israel’s defense, and probably also to working towards an eventual two-state solution after a very expensive and large project to help rebuild Palestine after the war. I would like to support some organization committed to such a vision.

  66. Hyman Rosen Says:

    A suggestion, as provided by Josh Blackman at the Volokh Conspiracy law professors blog – if you have a private office where you work, put up a prominent mezuzah on your doorpost. If the office allows putting up individual messaging on your door or walls, hang an Israeli flag. Refuse to be intimidated by the haters.

  67. Adam Treat Says:

    Far more Japanese civilians (~672,000) died in World War 2 than United States civilians (~6,000).

    Far more German civilians died (~780,000) in World War 2 than United States civilians (~6,000).

    Far more Italian civilians died (~152,941) in World War 2 than United States civilians (~6,000).

    Same with the number of UK civilians (~92,673).

    Was the United States wrong to fight? Was the UK wrong to fight? I wish people would grapple with these facts. What would the world look like right now if the United States and the UK had chosen not to fight. What about proportionality?

  68. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Scott #27

    Yes, I agree.

    Some of those militants you mention were extremely smart and absolutely committed to leftist ideals. They realized to achieve their long term political goals in the US required reforming the U.S. educational system. They have made great progress.

  69. lebFR Says:

    First as a reply to the use of violence point, Asimov wrote it very nicely: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
    Second, I agree that Hamas has as much regard for Palestinian population as the IDF, if not less. Their propaganda videos show the tunnels they built for their wars, yet they never built a shelter for the population. They don’t even let them hide there. I’m sure they have command centers, storage facilities and the like under hospitals/schools, … They probably learned to do so from Hizbollah in Lebanon: on the road from Beirut airport to city center, they built a big hospital, under which all know that there’s a large command center for their militia.
    Is IDF really trying to avoid civilians? maybe, but expecting such a war to have no civilian casualties is really a very naive thinking. There are always more civilians killed than soldiers.
    The most important question here: will this lead to a solution? Force both sides to reconsider their positions and agree on something? I’m not at all optimistic. I don’t give it more than 10% chance, though I really hope I’m wrong.

  70. Scott Says:

    lebFR #69: Of course the IDF expects civilian casualties. The claim is not that they don’t expect them, but rather that (unlike Hamas) they’re trying to minimize them.

    It’s sad that we seem so much further away from a two-state solution now than we did when I was an adolescent in the early 1990s. If we are ever to get back on track, though, I think two key prerequisite steps would be

    (1) for Hamas to be destroyed, and a PA-like governing authority to be installed in Gaza that actually cares about Palestinian welfare, and

    (2) for the Israeli voters to throw Netanyahu out after his historic failure to protect Israel, and choose someone more moderate and public-spirited instead.

    These are the only silver linings that I can see right now.

  71. fred Says:

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid that pointing out that Hamas are terrorists is falling on deaf ears.
    In the minds of those US Hamas supporters, who have zero awareness or willingness to even consider that Islamist ideology is a thing, the more horrible the deeds Hamas is doing, the more it’s simply further evidence of the despair all Palestinians must be in.

    “They raped Israeli women and killed Israeli babies in their crib?… God, imagine what Israeli oppression must be like for a normal person to be driven to do this as a last resort to fight back!”

  72. Scott Says:

    Ryan #65: I don’t know. I’m sure there are campus Hillels and pro-Israel and pro-peace-and-dialogue and pro-two-state-solution student organizations that are doing good work. But the problem seems extremely deep to me—because cheering “violent resistance” against Israel is just one symptom of a much broader turn against liberal, Enlightenment values in young people.

    What’s been ascendant instead, especially over the last decade, is a Manichean worldview that divides all humanity into “oppressors” and “oppressed,” and condemns everything the “oppressors” do including word choices and facial expressions, while excusing everything the “oppressed” do including (as we’ve seen this past month) the mass-murder of children. This is incompatible with what most of us, including those who considered ourselves left-liberals, considered to be the basic ground rules of human civilization, not to mention sanity and decency and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King. But it is what it is. And the anti-Israel stuff is just a corollary of it, and the only real hope I see is to confront it at the root.

    Maybe one could support the individual writers and content creators who seem to be doing the most to make the case for Enlightenment liberalism in a way that the new generation understands?

  73. Y Says:

    Hi Scott, I’m an Israeli and I thought I’ll give some historical perspective.

    I remember the second Lebanon war in 2006, where Hizballa’s front lines in Lebanon were breached, and UN called to end the conflict immediately, to avoid further civilian casualties. Since then, Hizballa took over Lebanon and destroyed it completely, participated in the genocide in Syria, and is now more lethal than ever.

    I remember when Israeli Forces were surrounding the Hamas headquarters in the Shiffa Hospital in 2008. Again, Israel was asked to not to break in, because it is a hospital and it would be a bloodbath (by the international law, hospitals can be attacked if they are de-facto a military base)

    In retrospective, is the principle of avoiding civilian casualties at all costs too “greedy”? Did we save some lives in the past only to have much more lost in the present? Is asking for “proportional” response just a way to keep the equilibrium in conflicts, making them last forever?

    How about the UN giving humanitarian aid for the Palestinians for decades. This aid frees Hamas from any responsibility to the Palestinians. Every USD of humanitarian aid is a USD that Hamas can now spend on something else. Is the humanitarian aid really helping in the long term? Or is it just the invisible hand that keeps the conflict going?

  74. Tom Marshall Says:

    Scott #24: I think I agree with you that two states is the most likely solution, and therefore the best in the real world. I don’t know how to get there, and I certainly can’t speak for the Palestinians, who might not be happy getting less than half of their stuff back — and not the good stuff — from someone they feel took all of their stuff. Alas I must leave that to the diplomats, as I have nothing practical to say.

    I did try to make it clear that we don’t agree on the relative equivalence of the behaviors on both sides. I find it helpful to differentiate between objective and subjective. Since you disagree with my statement as an objective statement, let me first say that no two sets of actions can be close to mathematically “equivalent” in the real world, so we do have to “abstract the essence”, and I concede that that process is necessarily subjective.

    Still, I’m very glad that you focused on the “intent” aspect. I know from my many conversations with Israeli soldiers while I was in yeshivah in Jerusalem (50 years ago) that their intent was to terrorize Arabs. I found their credibility heightened by the fact that they were very matter-of-fact about it; nether bragging nor ashamed. I heard numerous anecdotes. Nobody was killed in the stories that I heard, but the intent was terror, and the side with vastly more power has many more options in carrying out that intent. Hence I see a legitimate equivalence.

    Since I’m not privy to the minds of the IDF command or the Israeli government, I can’t speak in absolute terms about their intent, but I’m still quite comfortable, given the vast amount of indirect and/or circumstantial evidence, that terror is a part of their strategy. Certainly there are many times more gruesome Palestinian deaths — including entirely innocent children — and no alteration in policy. The result is terror — abject terror, fear, horror on the part of Palestinian citizens — and the best that I can say is that there is a reckless indifference (in the legal meaning of the word) to the inflicted terror; I fully expect that terror is part of the intent.

    Again, I appreciate that we — everyone here — can have this dialog and attempt to probe our objective characterizations and subjective values. You are providing a valuable service to the community that you have created, and I don’t have to agree with you in every detail to respect you, your humanity, and your goals for the future. Oh, and you’re a damn fine quantum computation scientist!

  75. Adam Treat Says:

    Tom Marshall #14,

    You say, “I’m completely in favor of protecting my Jewish friends and family from violence.”

    Tell us how you would go about doing so. How would *you* prevent October 7th from happening again. Thanks.

  76. Vladimir Says:

    Tom Marshall #74

    Sorry, can you repeat that for me? You feel that the IDF is morally equivalent to Hamas because you spoke to some soldiers 50 years ago?

  77. Scott Says:

    Tom Marshall #74:

      I know from my many conversations with Israeli soldiers while I was in yeshivah in Jerusalem (50 years ago) that their intent was to terrorize Arabs.

    Was this before, during, or after the Yom Kippur War? I cut a tiny break to people who use brutalizing language about the enemy if they just witnessed the enemy kill their comrades and loved ones. I cut no break to the “keyboard warriors,” on either side, who use brutalizing language without such an excuse.

  78. Atheist Arab Says:

    Scott #55 : Thanks for reading to the end and replying.

    You didn’t address my point about how Intent doesn’t matter. If every single objective metric points that you kill more, in what sense is your insistence that you “try to avoid deaths”, if we ignore for the moment how utterly unverifiable it is, relevant ?

    > The IDF is trying not to kill children.

    That’s a hell of a statement to make. Especially about an organization ranging in 150-500K individuals. How do you know that ? Do we (or you) have access to internal orders ? guidelines ? rules of engagements ? All you have is them speaking to the camera. Nobody says they will commit genocide in front of the camera Scott, and even then they still got terribly close (“Emphasis is on damage not accuracy”).

    From previous evidence, purely from memory here, the IDF is known to bomb primary schools[0], to deliberately target journalists [1] and then lie about it for about 1 year. They killed the entire close family (wife, son, daughter, and then some) of journalist Wael Al-Dahdouh[2], after they evacuated to a refugee camp south to comply with the evacuation order. Does this look like an army trying to avoid civilian casualties ?

    > They try roof knocks,

    Performative mercy of questionable efficiency, and not even practiced in this war.

    > they try phoning civilians in advance

    Those same civilians which they cut off from all Internet and Phone Services by bombing every last fiber cable and comm tower. Those warnings are not for the benefit of Palestinians, they are for the benefit of CNN’s cameras.

    > they’ve tried evacuating all the civilians to the south to get them out of harm’s way

    They gave a warning for 1 million people to evacuate in 24 hours, that’s 42K people per hour, or 700 per minute, or 12 per second. This means you need a small pickup truck leaving the bombed area (under the still-ongoing fires of the warplanes above) every single second, for a total of 60*60*24 = 86400 trucks, and they have to be different trucks since they have to leave every single second if they want to get any meaningful percentage of people out. And the IDF will bomb them anyway [3].

    These flimsy evidence doesn’t work except on a mind already predisposed – nay, desperately in need of – to forgive the IDF’s terrible war crimes. Every single one of them utterly collapses on second thought or rational consideration, every single one of them didn’t save any lives.

    Just take the outside view for a sec, imagine you wake up and read in your favorite news app/email notifications “Russian Army orders 1 million Ukrainians (2.5% of the population) to avoid casualties“, I will leave it as an exercise to you to scale the 1 million Gazans out of 2.3 millions to Ukraine’s population. Do the thought experiment honestly and tell me if your opinion of the Russian Army would improve.

    > every dead child in Gaza helps to turn world opinion against Israel

    Correct. Hence the IDF’s love for the boiling frog approach, kill 1000 children today (actually 3000 since the bombing began), deflect the human rights accusations and present the usual laughable evidence that “we were trying”. Because you didn’t literally kill all children, do it again next year, and again next year, and again next year. Rinse and repeat till the population runs out or, more likely, not enough of it remains to be an actual living distinct population and they can be assimilated safely with little to no rights. As a bonus you take their land too.

    It’s Genocide at 0.01x, it will accomplish its goal in the end, just without triggering a critical mass of realization to stop it.

    > Hamas would kill every Jewish child in the world if it could

    How come the Jewish kids in New York or London were not targeted by them if that’s true ? If we’re going the “Well those war criminals are not too bad because actually they could have killed much more than they did” route I’m feeling entitled to ask you this. The Jews abroad are far far far softer targets than those protected by the IDF. Why no global Al-Aqsa Flood if pure murder of Jews is the win condition ?

    >  they did murder as many Jewish children as they could on October 7 […] even proudly filming themselves doing it,

    And so your only problems with murdering kids is that it’s done in person, unrepentantingly and on camera. But if the Child Killers hide behind a fig leaf of “””Plausible””” deniability (that are actually not so plausible after second thought), and do so under the guise of a total communication blackout, and from the safety of aircrafts or tanks, then you find yourself hesitant to condemn or hate it ?

    I know you will say that’s not fair, but consider that your entire concept of “Intent” is just a convenient shorthand for “Aesthetics”. Intent doesn’t make sense when you don’t have any source to discern that Intent except the very party declaring the intent, if I kill somebody but say very loudly “OH NO I REALLY DIDNT WANT TO KILL YOU” you wouldn’t take this as an authoritative source on my intent. But rather, the argument makes perfect sense if it’s about Aesthetics, killing 500 kids in person while shouting islamist rhetoric just feels terrorist-y, but killing 3000 by pressing lots of high tech buttons and while insisting in posh diplomatic English about how sorry you feel doesn’t. Your genocide sensors are faulty, Scott, they’re very easy to decieve. They need replacement.

    >  I wouldn’t put it past him at all to kill Palestinian children just for the sake of killing them.

    So I looked up this piece of human excrement’s official position, and Wikipedia says he’s the Minister of National Security. Do you seriously believe that the Minister of National Security doesn’t have any input into the bombing policy and guidelines of the IDF ? What, he was told to stand in the corner and think really hard about what he said to Arabs because the IDF wants to minimize Palestinian children’s death now ?


  79. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Tom Marshal #74

    I did a brief survey and IDF soldiers are prosecuted for unwarranted actions against Palestinians. An IDF soldier has been in prison since 2017 for rape of a Palestinian. When the US occupied France in WW2 there were reported rapes. The perpetrators were hung publicly in the village where the rape occurred by order of DDE.

    It is unimaginable to me that IDF soldiers would be capable of committing equivalent atrocities to Hamas except for the odd psychopath acting individually.

  80. Max Madera Says:

    Dear Scott:

    As a gentile from Spain I always thought that you exaggerated. The family past. The traditional stories. Understandable. But now I must reconsider my evaluation. And I apologize to you if I ever laught at your fear. (I hope I didn’t.)

    This thing happened in Barcelona: A mob chanting the expected chants, raising the Palestinian flag in a hotel… and pointing “this bussiness belongs to a Jew”.

    A well-known Spanish far left journalist on X, after the mass execution (and torture, profanity,…) of young israelis at the concert near Gaza, did not even had to wait to any retaliation to proclaim: “Imagine how crooked a society must be to dance and party at the gates of a concentration camp”.

    Yes, you can scream. I feel the rage and the embarrasment.

    Fortunately, at least in Madrid, the local government had the decency of illuminating the Town Hall with the Israeli flag. And the regional government is sympathetic. But we have the monster of antisemitism with the hand at our throat. It is everywhere in the extreme left, which has been part of the government for the last 4 years. I hope we can erradicate this monster before it becomes too strong. But in the meantime, I believe that Israel needs to be stronger than ever. Indeed, a safe haven. And Israel will prevail.

  81. Nin Says:

    Scott #55 you said “ Hamas would kill every Jewish child in the world if it could.” The oct 7 attacks were an atrocity that no sane person would try to justify, but what you said is evidently just not true. If you listen to interviews of survivors of oct 7, you will find that the attackers were widely varied in their brutality. I have heard two accounts of survivors who recalled that the attackers assured them women and children wouldn’t be harmed, and they weren’t. I have heard more accounts where the attackers could have killed many more people, usually women and children, than they did. This is not to deny some of the attackers did kill children, particularly by setting fire to homes. I haven’t checked recently, but as of Oct 21, Haaretz had reported the names of 683 Israeli deaths from oct 7. 7 of them are recorded as being between the ages of 4 and 7, and 9 of them are recorded as being between the ages of 10 and 17. There were no names recorded under the age of 3. If that is a random sampling, then I suppose you could roughly double those figures to get the totals. For most people, the reality of oct 7 was horrific enough. Every time I hear someone inventing even more horror, I have to wonder why. Another thing you will discover if you listen the accounts of survivors is that there are questions about how many Israelis were killed by the Israeli military on oct 7. Out of desperation the IDF bombed its own checkpoint and shelled civilian residences knowing that there were Israelis inside. This is not to draw an equivalence — obviously Hamas bears responsibility for every death on oct 7. But particularly in the cases where the remains of Israeli civilians were discovered burned or in destroyed buildings, this raises questions about precisely how that happened.

  82. Jacob G-W Says:

    Hey Scott,

    I really hope for all the hostages to be released and for everyone to be safe.

    The more I think about what others think and debate them in my head, the angrier I get. I imagine getting angry emails from antisemites would be really angering and triggering. Reading your post made me emphasize with you and also made me feel scared.

    I hope that you can find support and love in these difficult times.


  83. fred Says:

    The thing with “intent” is that it’s supposed to start as an ideal at the highest levels of abstraction of a society/culture and then “trickle down” to the level of institutions, cities, schools, families, individuals.

    But it doesn’t always take very much for things to go sideways really quickly, within one generation (Nazi Germany, Mao’s Cultural Revolution,…).

    And it’s particularly challenging to maintain intent from the top down in the military – soldiers are in a unique situation where murder on a large scale is “legal”, and, once the horror of combat is happening, high principles can quickly go out the window when they see their fellow comrades die… and often that’s the one uniting thing that will bring reconciliation between adversaries, years down the line (e.g. between Vietnam American vets and ex-Vietcong combatants).

  84. Cerastes Says:

    Atheist Arab #78 – that’s because “Intent doesn’t matter” is, quite simply, one of stupidest positions to have. It’s literally the difference between murder and manslaughter, and is literally a key part of what makes something a crime.

  85. fred Says:

    Atheist Arab

    “> They try roof knocks,
    Performative mercy of questionable efficiency, and not even practiced in this war.”

    I think there’s a recorded instance of it in this war:

  86. Scott Says:

    Atheist Arab #78: While I don’t want to hash out every incident, suffice it to say—yes, there were clearly many incidents where the IDF failed to live up to its own standards, just like there were many incidents where the US failed to live up to its own standards in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. This is despite the fact that I take it obvious that the war in Afghanistan, if not the war in Iraq, was 100% morally justified (to say nothing of WWII, which as others have pointed out, had many, many bombings of questionable morality by the Allies).

    I’m fine for you to make the case that the IDF has fallen much further short than I or other Zionists know it to have fallen. Such an argument would be still well within a moral framework that I understand and respect.

    On the other hand, I do want to insist on the general principle that intent matters in ascertaining guilt. If it’s one of the most important factors in criminal law, and indeed in literally every other moral situation besides Israel/Palestine, then why not there as well?

  87. Scott Says:

    Anyway, I won’t be debating Israel/Palestine for the next few hours, since I’ll be taking my son trick-or-treating. Happy Halloween everyone! BoOoOoOoO!!!

  88. Michael Says:

    I have to say this is such an inane comment thread, and it amazes me that the blog of a highly respected scientist has a blog with this kind of stuff in it. Nin #81 even goes for the “Maybe the Israelis accidentally did it to themselves” that the Russians use in their Ukraine campaign. Newsflash: Hamas doesn’t hold back. That concert near the border was a killing field with tons of bodies all over. Same for many of the kibbutzes. Hamas went from door to door killing people. The IDF didn’t do that. Duh. And yes we saw children under three years old dead, they were all over the media. You couldn’t avoid it. And no, they weren’t fake.

    So to all you Hamas apologists: You seem to have this view that killing Israeli Jewish civilians is some form of “justice” and it probably didn’t happen as much as they say, while the IDF killing of civilians is the world’s biggest outrage, and you’re sure it must be intentional on their part. Well all I have to say is, at least now the Israelis will conquer the Gaza strip fully and their suffering will end soon. Once they remove your friends in Hamas, the humanitarian situation there will improve drastically. This endless war after war, rocket after rocket, dead Gazan child after dead Gazan child, it will finally end and hopefully something better will be built from the wreckage.

  89. Israeli far-left mathematician Says:

    @Atheist Arab

    >> Hamas would kill every Jewish child in the world if it could

    >How come the Jewish kids in New York or London were not targeted by them if that’s true ? If we’re going the “Well those war criminals are not too bad because actually they could have killed much more than they did” route I’m feeling entitled to ask you this. The Jews abroad are far far far softer targets than those protected by the IDF. Why no global Al-Aqsa Flood if pure murder of Jews is the win condition ?

    As opposed to the chaotic surroundings of Gaza, London has a long history of being a civilized place with not too much room for large scale terror organizations to operate (there is a reason that such organizations thrive in third world countries), so I think it’s pretty clear that pulling an Al-Aqsa Flood in London will be much harder than a few kilometres away of Gaza. However, the fact that antisemitic hate crimes in London are up 1350% (!!!) since October 7 is a pretty clear statement of intent, so please just recognize that your peers have an antisemitic problem and spare us the gaslighting.

  90. Isaac Says:

    Honest question: instead of throwing a rocket in a place that has children, or at least a reasonable chance of having children (which is, for all criminal understanding that I possess-> a children murder attempt), why not sending soldiers on foot to kill the terrorists and spare the innocent civilians?

  91. Vijay Says:

    Dear Scott,

    It pains me to see everything you’re experiencing. I had wondered in your previous two posts if there were ways to distance yourself from it, for your own mental health. I don’t quite see how, especially given your profile and the environment you are in.

    What’s been shocking to me, reaching out to Israeli friends and colleagues is how horrifyingly small the social distance to people directly impacted is. It’s sickening to hear and contemplate. Amidst all that, there are people who are volunteering and helping, and people living abroad who have chosen to return, sometimes leaving family, to help.

    It is depressing and nauseating to see these comments and elsewhere. How quickly thin veneer of supposed humanitarian concern gives way to tribalism and on further challenge, outright hate speech.

  92. Manfred Niehus Says:

    The post makes me cry.
    Thinking about the floorboard test.
    And You and the loved ones.

  93. Scott M Says:

    The left wing academic response that has tolerated or explained away the blatant antisemitism of radical student groups has shown me that they are also, in fact, antisemitic and probably privately cheered the actions of Hamas while wringing their hands for a ceasefire.

  94. Scott Says:

    Isaac #90:

      Honest question: instead of throwing a rocket in a place that has children, or at least a reasonable chance of having children (which is, for all criminal understanding that I possess-> a children murder attempt), why not sending soldiers on foot to kill the terrorists and spare the innocent civilians?

    Have you not been following the news? The ground invasion has already started.

    And yes, as you vary the amount of bombing prior to the ground invasion, I assume you can trade off to some extent how many thousands of Palestinian civilians are going to die versus how many thousands of 18- or 19-year old Israeli soldiers. Would you want to make that calculation, as an Israeli general? Can you even imagine having to make it?

  95. Adam Treat Says:

    Isaac #90, “why not sending soldiers on foot to kill the terrorists and spare the innocent civilians”

    It is a fact that were Israel to completely hold off any bombs or aerial support whatsoever and committed to *only* sending in soldiers on foot into Gaza that thousands of Palestinian children and civilians will die. Reality is not a Marvel superhero movie no matter how much you wish it were one. There is no perfect plan of action where the good guys win and the bad guys lose and no innocents are killed in a large scale conflict like this one.

  96. Tyson Says:

    Hi Scott. I’m sorry all of this is happening. I am hoping for the safe return of the hostages and for the violence to end. I also hope that the negative sentiments keeping people at odds with each other, and weighing on our minds, will fade over time.

    I just want want to chime in about my (perhaps naive) perspective.

    A concern that weights on my mind, is that humanity might have a relatively short amount of time left to instill peace before an era of cheap and efficient autonomous warfare really hits and war threatens a whole new level of hell that hardly anyone would be safe from. I hope I am wrong. But I think, as hard as it will be, we should start now to try and defuse these threats as much as possible.

    Eradicating Hamas before that happens may be a crucial step. But you can also argue that they are not the only threats, and there is no shortage of intensely angry and easy to radicalize people to take their places. Destroying Hamas isn’t enough, we have to tackle the cycle of violence, and I don’t think that can be achieved militarily alone.

    I think that, as impossible and naive as it sounds, eventually some significant level of forgiveness and reconciliation is a necessary component to any tolerable solution. This is not to say that we can kill Hamas with kindness, but we can reduce their power to instill hatred and perpetuate the cycle of violence, by showing as much kindness as possible to their would be supporters and would be future terrorists in general.

    I realize that humanitarianism in Gaza isn’t easy while Hamas is in power. And no doubt they need to be removed from power and a ground invasion is warranted. I just think that the IDF should try as hard as possible to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure in the process. I won’t go into a debate about how hard they are trying. I am just arguing the importance of humanitarianism towards achieving the long term goals.

    Once they’ve cleared Hamas out of Gaza, I think we should immediately begin with a large scale humanitarian effort to rebuild the city and get people back on their feet. If, after Hamas is gone, we can create the conditions for Gazans to live with a high quality of life, a sense of hope, safety, and opportunity, we can at least weaken the ongoing cycle of violence, and reduce the fuel for anti-Israeli and antisemitic sentiment.

    Maybe various nations with credibility in the eyes of the Gazan people can collaborate with Israel to help create the foundations for the future of Gaza after this is over.

    I know that right now it seems hopeless. But time can heal deep wounds. No matter how gradual, the cycle must lose amplitude, or ideally eventually end, for us to lessen the risks of future catastrophes. We have to start somewhere, even if it takes a few generations.

    People like Yocheved Lifshitz might be good role models for us to look to.

  97. shtetl-fan Says:

    A general comment regarding “IDF not targeting civilians”:

    IDF is part of the state of Israel, the same state that has administered an occupation, a decades long occupation/apartheid. The administration of such continued occupation necessitates violence, violence targeted against civilians. And such violence can only be done effectively using a trained force, and that would be the police and IDF.
    This is not just bad apples or incidents that I am talking about. This is a matter of policy. I am talking about discrimination based on policies and laws and rules. For IDF specifically, this means participating in violence against civilians with an intent that is based on laws. Not a sexy argument, I know, as occupation is not sth on people’s mind right now, but history helps.

    That put aside, let’s turn to the famous question (which should not be that important anymore based on what I said above) : Specifically in this war, is IDF acting against civilians based on some directive and actual intent ?

    We can try to answer this question by looking at whether there is any directive that if executed, would amount to IDF intentionally committing targeted violence against civilians. There is not yet a solid 100% proof of such a directive, although *effectively* one can see an order that amounts to forced ethnic displacement being executed. So for all practical and probably *legal* purposes, my own opinion is that this likely won’t matter anymore, since intent is not based just on “hey, I didn’t mean it !”. However, turning back to “100% solid proof”, there have been recent leaks (see Haaretz ref. below), that the state is already moving towards the ethnic displacement “solution”.

    The state will likely never disclose its intent if it is flagrantly against international laws, but I am optimistic that we will see the truth on this, and I bet that we won’t be shocked.


  98. icareaboutpeople Says:

    Scott… Understandably you are upset. Hamas’s attack was unforgivable and medieval in its brutality. But Israel is an apartheid state. To suggest that Israel does not have intent of ethnically cleansing the Palestinians when they place one subset in an open air prison and bomb them chronically and the other they push out of their homes and occupy their land, making them second class citizens, and often killing them as well, is an absurd take. Obviously both sides are genocidal, the only difference is Israel has power. Can you not see that? What about the bombings on evacuation routes and the latest bombing of the largest refugee center, the cutting off of water and electricity and telecommunications? These are unforgivable war crimes and demonstrate wanton disregard for civilian well-being. I am NOT defending Hamas’s tactics however they did not occur in a vacuum. Can you not acknowledge that? Can you stop trying to make out the Israeli intent as fundamentally different to the Hamas intent? Just because they haven’t killed every Palestinian doesn’t mean they don’t want to and haven’t been doing essentially the same thing but “lite”. The reason they don’t engage in a genocide of just kicking out the Palestinians is because they know it would put American support, which they rely on, at risk. We as Americans have the duty to call on our government to only continue supplying Israel with critical support if we attach humanitarian conditions.

  99. Nate Says:

    Michael #88: You made several statements that I think show the problem I have with Scott and others approach to this discussion. Nin gave you hard numbers, sure they are not 100% clear and he is stating that he is extrapolating but it seems fine to me to do so, this is statistics at some level.

    He also asserted a simple ‘friendly fire’ scenario that is probably in part true though I have no idea how true. Friendly fire is sadly an extremely common outcome of all military operations. The chaos of the battlefield does not make it simple to avoid. I bet there is friendly fire occurring in some form or another on the battlefields in Gaza itself now. It is inevitable. Not that it is an excuse, Hamas bears responsibility for the killing there (as Nin said) but it is just reality.

    With that in mind you respond with attacking language about how he is saying something that ‘apologizes’ for Hamas and is saying something didn’t happen the way you seem so sure it did. You see the cognitive dissonance right? You demand reason, you obsess over intent, then you are given real data and you balk immediately at the implications about how the situation has evolved and how it is not really as clear as you want it to be that this is all justified. I am not saying it is fun to count death stats but if we are going to build a narrative about how the intent of the IDF is so clearly sound then we have to be honest about the data.

    I reject the assertions so many have made that ‘numbers are not important here’, that is absurd to me, call me a utilitarian.

    I really only want to see discussions grounded in reality and data not in emotion. I have no intention to trivialize the trauma on either side here but we cannot lose our human reason so quickly, its just going to make things worse. Nothing good will come out of this ruble.

  100. Vladimir Says:

    Atheist Arab #74:

    You seem handy with Google and basic math, can you look up the population of Gaza Strip as a function of time and extrapolate it to give an estimate for when the “Genocide at 0.01x” you spoke of will be completed?

  101. RD Says:

    Wokes think only in identity categories. At birth, a baby is already an oppressor to them if he or she is (say) Jewish.

    The way wokes have been educated in American colleges and K-12 schools, we should have seen this inevitable result coming. They 48% face no debate – they can easily surround themselves with influences that reinforce their hideous views.

    This is how Pakistan educates its children. They’re educated almost exclusively to hate India, especially Hindus. They are not educated to do something good for themselves or their country.

    I have hope that at least in America, they will grow up to recognize they have opportunity to be something. And focus on that.

    Such a thing can change suddenly too. I hope for that.

  102. AG Says:

    Scott #94: This strikes me as the “moral/legal” heart of the matter, insofar as the discussion of proportionality, properly understood, is concerned.  Michael Walzer’s view on this issue expressed in the linked discussion was very instructive for me to become aware of:

  103. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Most have some idea about an ideal socio-political structure for society. It is most often impossible to fully realize their ideal in practice but there are degrees of attainment. Relative to my ideal Israel is a couple light years closer than the Palestinians. I am optimistic that there can be continuing global progress and that an intact Israel will contribute significantly to that progress.

    I have no clue how the existing socio-politics of Palestine could contribute to progress rather than global retreat. After the tally of who did what to whom I still stand with Israel in all reasonably expected cases. I support the right of Palestinians to live freely as they choose so long as they do not attack Israel. When they do attack Israel then a devastating response is warranted that involves casualties of the innocent. These casualties happen but are not desired by anyone save Hamas and similar organizations that use them as anti Israeli fodder.

    There are deeper issues at stake than trying to make the case that Israel is almost as bad as Hamas based on tallies that resulted purely from a barbaric attack by Hamas on Israel. Tally as you like but it doesn’t impact the deeper issues at stake in this conflict. It does support the Hamas strategy of welcoming casualties of the innocent to support their objective of eradicating the Jewish people.

  104. Scott Says:

    icareaboutpeople #98: I’d like to think that I care about people too! I was heartbroken tonight looking at images of the devastation in Gaza, regardless of whose fault it is. I’ll have trouble going back to sleep. And yes, I fully acknowledge that Hamas’s murder-rampage of October 7 did not occur “in a vacuum.”

    The trouble is that the people who say that, always selectively omit certain parts of the non-vacuum in which the rampage occurred. Most importantly, they omit that, again and again, the Israeli side accepted what was originally called “partition,” and later called the “two-state solution.” Israel accepted peaceful coexistence with Palestinians. And the Palestinian side did not accept peaceful coexistence with Israel. They wanted the whole enchilada. They wanted the Jews to “go back where they came from”—an obvious nonstarter when history offered the Jews no place else to go. (Or rather, one could say: they are back where they came from.)

    And this strikes me as the core of everything. I’ve been reading dozens of anti-Zionist Twitter accounts, and it’s striking how, amid all the talk about Israeli atrocities and the genocide of Palestinians, the accounts invariably give the game away by talking about how the occupiers need to get off their stolen land, from the river to the sea. In other words, a total rejection of coexistence. If that’s the final offer, then of course Israelis are going to fight it to the death.

    Granted, the Palestinians’ rejection of the two-state solution eventually pushed Israel to elect nasty far-right leaders who aren’t interested in a two-state solution either, even supposing the Palestinians changed their minds and now wanted it. It’s tragic, and it’s hard to see how we get back to what was always the only just solution. But I hope the two sides someday get back, because it remains the only way.

    Do you also want a two-state solution? If you do, then you and I actually much closer than Internet arguments like this one make it seem! We agree on the goal, we just maybe disagree on the exact path to it. If, on other hand, any solution where Israel continues to exist is unacceptable, then we’re at an impasse that no discussion can resolve.

  105. GW Says:

    Hamas are monsters and their pogrom is unforgivable nor in any way can it be justified by what Israel has done over decades. I am proud of the sacrifices (3 lives, one posthumous Yad Vashem) my family made when fighting the Nazis, and their horror about what was being done to the Jews was a major part of their fight. The holocaust was the biggest crime ever perpetrated, as far as I know.

    But that Hamas are monsters, and that the Holocaust was the biggest crime ever, doesn’t automatically mean everything Israel does is right. And not everything Israel does is right.

    At this point in time, both extremes feed of each other and there is no road I can see that leads to peacefully living side by side as long as that is the case. It is not Israel that needs to eliminate Hamas, it is the Palestinians that need to eliminate Hamas (and other extremists). It is not the Palestinians that need to ‘fight’ extremists in Israel, it is the Israeli’s themselves that need to stop putting them in power.

  106. Baeraad Says:

    For what it’s worth, I’d like to say this: the Hamas attack on Israel shook me as I can remember nothing in the news doing in my lifetime. I am usually the kind of cynic who scoffs at the idea of any party in a conflict having a claim to being in the right. “Bastards, the lot of them!” tends to be my refrain.

    Not this time. This time I am genuinely shocked and horrified at the viciousness of this attack. The people who did this have gone mad with hatred. I see the sort of pious calls for “an end to hostilities” that I’m normally broadly sympathetic to, and I shake my head at them. How can anyone believe that there can be meaningful dialogue or peaceful co-existance with people who would plan and execute THIS? Yes, they surely had their reasons. Everyone have reasons for what they do. But their reasons led them to do THIS. That means that if there was a time when they could still have been negotiated with, it’s well and thoroughly past.

    It is true that I don’t know what should be done instead. Can Israel meaningfully destroy Hamas? I don’t know. Will fighting back just create a new generation of militants? I don’t know. All I feel sure of is that a horror of this magnitude requires a drastic response. You don’t try to co-exist with a rabid dog, not unless you’re actively suicidal.

    I’ll be honest and say that I still wouldn’t have hidden you under the floor boards for any Nazis. Nope, I would have saved my own hide, because my hide comes first for me – as I hope yours does for you. But people capable of this level of psychotic malice are a danger to everyone. When it comes to wishing them neutralised by whatever means might actually work – and again, I am very aware that I don’t have the expertise to identify one – I think we are very much on the same side.

  107. Anonymous Says:

    Fred #10: a slightly more accurate claim than Jews = Whites is Jews \subset Whites. Also the membership is from ancestry not skin color. That might not be how Scott views it but it’s how the anti-White woke left views it. This is especially true among the third world immigrants and their descendants whose anti-White racism is a smokescreen for the fact that by any objective standard they’re the actual current “colonists” and “oppressors” moving to and changing countries their ancestors didn’t create. Ironically, liberal American Jews have done much to nurture these destructive views. I hope the barbarism of October 7 leads to self reflection about self interest.

  108. Atheist Arab Says:

    Scott #86: Happy Halloween !

    Your response strikes me as a No True Scotsman. The IDF “failing to live up to its own standard” is the rule, not an exception. The IDF has been violating UN AND security council resolutions for about 50 years now, namely in being present in the West Bank and protecting illegal settlers while they shoot and harass and kill the children of Palestinians.  “Failing to live up to” being a UN-abiding state is not exactly a thing that you will excuse to any other state or military, but Israeli propaganda has convinced you that obeying International Law is anti-semitic so here you are.

    Anyway, yesterday/early today the IDF bombed a refugee camp (Jabalya). At least a hundred innocent civilians were killed. The IDF’s justification ? there is one (1) Hamas officer they want dead, and allegedly he was hiding in the camp. The brazen admission of the flagrant war crime surprised even CNN’s Wolf Isaac Blitzer, a former AIPAC editor[1], who kept pressing the IDF’s spokesman and giving him a way out to no avail. Possibly in response to this, or maybe not, Director of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Craig Mokhiber resigned[2] in protest of the UN’s inefficacy. In  his resignation letter (available online) he called what’s happening in Gaza a Genocide. This man was in his position for 30 years, and he wittnessed the Rwandan Genocide, so maybe he knows a thing or two about Genocides that you don’t know, and he appears to be agreeing with me that the IDF is committing (or starting to commit, or intending to commit) one against Palestinians.

    I want nothing of you but to evaluate those 2 pieces of information with as much detachment as possible.



  109. Atheist Arab Says:

    Vladimir #100:

    I am handy with more than a bunch of basic math, yes, but I happen to not like condescending bad faith JAQ trolling, so you’re a bit on your own in this one. Ping me here if you need help with population models or simulations thereof.


  110. Vrushali Says:

    So why doesn’t anyone focus on this very important point “or rather one could say they are back where they came from”. I am forever wondering why no one including jews ever consider this as a starting point in any argument.
    Can there ever be anyone who both Israel and Gazan people consider credible? Plain and simple -no.
    RD #101
    Lets not worry what Pakistan is teaching , whats really disturbing is what the wokes are doing to the hindus in India. History has shown how many times we have fallen prey to outsiders if we are not constantly alert.

  111. Adam Treat Says:

    Atheist Arab #108,

    One could go mad responding to your every falsehood, equivocation, misguided statement, but the strike yesterday was not clearly a war crime nor did the IDF state that the sole military justification for the strike was to kill one leader. That is just one more insinuation you make with no justification. In fact, that strike caused massive sinkholes to appear from the collapse of an incredible number of Hamas tunnels beneath. Striking a military target – which those Hamas tunnels definitely are – is not a war crime by any recognized international law even if it unfortunately incurs a number of civilian deaths.

    The absolute ire and blame you direct at Israel is misplaced. It is Hamas which is causing the suffering of those people in the camp by directly building extensive tunnels underneath a civilian population just like it builds/locates all of its military installations adjacent or co-located with civilian populations. Why? To foment your exact reaction. Hamas is playing you for a fool. They care not one whit for the Palestinian population. Do they build even a single shelter for the Palestinian civilian population? No. Do they prepare in any way whatsoever to spare the loss of civilian life? No. They are playing an absolutely cynical game and betting on the fact that your hatred for Israel is greater than your compassion for Palestinian civilians.

    By your responses on this site it is clear who you perceive to be the enemy of Palestinians and the Palestinian cause: Israel, the IDF, and Jews. It is not Hamas. You have ZERO explanation for why Hamas does not give one iota of a crap about Palestinian civilians in Gaza… in fact, they give *less of a crap* about Palestinian civilians in Gaza than the IDF yet again, your ire is reserved for Israel and the IDF. You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Tricked. Made a fool of by Hamas. If you actually care about Palestinian lives it is time to wake up.

  112. John Lawrence Aspden Says:

    Scott, I hate to burn my slim chance of one day buying you lunch. But needs must:

    I have considered carefully, and I would say this to your face, in your living room, as your guest.

    If you consider this comment to be anti-semitic then you have my full permission to make a donation in my name to any organisation of your choice. If you really want to hurt me, I suggest some sort of anti-euthanasia charity.


    You are being side-tracked by politics. Politics is the mind-killer, as a very wise man once wrote.

    This latest chapter in the endless squalid horror of Israel/Palestine hardly matters.

    You have better things to do, if we have any chance of preventing the greatest pogrom of all time.

    You have the smarts and the necessary academic respect to make people take superintelligence seriously.

    Try to do the right thing, rather than the thing your brain is screaming is important.

  113. Adam Treat Says:

    IDF spokesman clearly spelling out:

    1) The strike on Jebaliya was a strike on the massive terror tunnels that Hamas built underneath Jebaliya

    2) The strike resulted in numerous Hamas casualties (not just one) and was a result of tunnel collapse

    3) The strike did not target a building, but video documented evidence shows it struck *between* buildings to target the tunnel network

    4) The strike caused the collapse of the tunnel network which triggered the collapse of several large buildings which were based on top of this tunnel network

    5) It is Hamas which bears the blame for building military infrastructure directly underneath a large civilian population once again proving that Hamas cares not one crap about Palestinian civilians and actually values Palestinian civilian lives less than the IDF

    6) The IDF has been warning the civilian population of this camp to move south for *weeks* before targeting the terror tunnels. Had the IDF wanted to inflict or had the intent to inflict the most civilian deaths it could, then it would have struck this camp immediately after October 7th or at any time in the last few weeks. They did not do this because they do not have the *intent* to inflict civilian casualties. The IDF is focused on defeating Hamas which is the true enemy of the Palestinian people just like the Nazis were the true enemy of the German people.

  114. Michael Says:

    Nate #99:

    I’m not obsessing over intent actually… intent is the topic of conversation here and I’m commenting on the conversation. I actually find the intent topic pretty tedious because 1) Hamas makes their intent clear and 2) It’s not in Israel’s interest to kill more civilians even if they wanted to because the backlash works against their country. So while some may intentionally kill them out of hate, it’s not going to be a general policy. Also, every time there’s a conflict, their crying children are dragged on TV and the exact same inane conversation shows up… Israelis saying it’s unintentional and Palestinian supporters saying they know it is. This level of conversation even occurs among distinguished scientists, intellectuals, etc. I’m just expressing my annoyance that we can’t progress beyond this.

    As for “hard numbers”, Nin just quoted some Haaretz news source. So it’s Nin said that Haaretz said that these are the numbers. I just pointed out that these statistics are known to be false. My issue is that people throw out numbers without really even thinking about them. The infamous hospital attack was a pretty good example. Some Hamas bureaucrat announced over 500 people died and even the major Western news sources quoted it. The NY Times published an apology letter. So again even highly intelligent people fall into this trap, and this happens on both sides of the conflict. Honestly, we can do better.

    By the way, I’m not some big fan of the Israeli government. I’m actually pretty anti both sides of this conflict, but think Hamas is the worse of the two. I hope Israel wins the conflict though, so that we can have a “reset” and try to change the overall situation which benefits no one.

  115. Atheist Arab Says:

    Cerastes #84:

    > the difference between murder and manslaughter

    Good example. So let’s say that somebody is accused of the ‘manslaughter’ of 8000+ person, are you telling me that your hypothetical judge could be convinced by the argument “He didn’t mean to” ?

    Israeli far-left mathematician #89:

    > so I think it’s pretty clear that pulling an Al-Aqsa Flood in London will be much harder than pulling a few kilometres away from Gaza.

    Very unconvincing. Hamas pulled Al-Aqsa Flood with a 25+ billion dollar military sieging every single meter around them, land, sea and air. And another military (Egyptian) sieging the few kilometers that the first can’t. They manufactured weapons locally, they manufactured rocket fuel locally out of sugar and fertilizer. I see it as very clear that Hamas could absolutely pull the Al-Aqsa flood in any European capital with 1 year of planning and the same funding they got for the actual Al-Aqsa Flood. They would have gotten out 10x as many victims, at the very least. Why didn’t they ?

    > However, the fact that antisemitic hate crimes in London are up 1350%

    A tragic and shameful fact, I still fail to see how relevant it is. This wasn’t Hamas as far as I know.

    > please just recognize that your peers have an antisemitic problem and spare us the gaslighting.

    My “peers” ? The Arabs ? We’re pretty anti-semitic yes, after all we kill ourselves in much greater quantities than any other state or military including the US and Israel combined, and we’re a semitic tribe. If you mean the more narrow meaning of “anti-semitic” as in “Jew-hating”, I will grant you that yes, Arabs, Muslims among them especially, do have an unfortunate tendency to conflate Israel and Jews. Having granted that, I expect you to grant that your “peers”, your countrymen and countrywomen if you live in Israel, happen to have the same problem against a different semitic tribe than themselves.

    I’m not “gaslighting” you or other commenters anymore than Scott is “gaslighting” me when he says that Israel is not killing as many civilians as it can, I’m simply making the mirror argument that Hamas is also not killing as many Jews as it can. It still doesn’t make a difference, you would hate Hamas even if it killed a single innocent Israeli (Jew or not), I agree, and I’m asking you to hate and decry the IDF likewise, because the only way out appears to be in asserting that lives the IDF is killing is not as human or as precious to you as the lives Hamas has killed.

  116. fred Says:

    As a non-Jew and non-Arab/Muslim, beyond all this “Hamas-vs-IDF, pick your side now!” nonsense, I often go back to simply asking myself “Given the choice, who would I be more comfortable having as neighbors? Jews or Muslims?”. The answer is easy: Jews.

    While I have absolutely nothing against Muslims, when I grew up in Europe in the 70s and 80s, the news were filled with horrible acts of terrorism done by Muslims (sure there was the IRA too, and various leftists groups, but those were amateurs in comparison).
    I’ve also constantly witnessed a cultural lack of respect for women, to say the least (even more shocking when it came from a very good university friend of mine who was born and raised Morocco).
    Then, when I moved to the US, I lived through 911 and it’s still affecting me today in some very real and painful ways (i.e. years of fighting stage 3 and stage 4 cancers caused by it).
    Ironically, my NYC neighborhood is now peppered with Salafist Mosques, and we can even hear call for prayers on loudspeakers (so far only once a week). And my building has female tenants entirely dressed in black, from head to toes, including gloves and a thick mesh covering the entire face, even in the middle of summer (I suspect it’s really to ‘trigger’ the rest of the community as much as possible).

    Granted, walking in the most Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Williamsburg can feel quite surreal at times, but has never made me feel threatened in the least…
    It’s also simply a matter of listening to the opinions of American Jews. While they don’t all agree, it’s clear that all of them are on the side of progress, knowledge, enlightenment, reason, and this is why I trust Scott’s opinion on the matter of Israel.

  117. Scott Says:

    fred #116: For whatever it’s worth, I’ve never felt personally threatened by Muslims in the US. And my Iranian friends, in particular, were some of the first and loudest to offer me their sympathy and support after Oct. 7.

    I don’t need anyone to “side with Jews and against Muslims.” All I need is for people to support universal human rights and a two-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians could live side-by-side in peace.

  118. Scott Says:

    John Lawrence Aspden #112:

      You are being side-tracked by politics. Politics is the mind-killer, as a very wise man once wrote.

      This latest chapter in the endless squalid horror of Israel/Palestine hardly matters.

      You have better things to do, if we have any chance of preventing the greatest pogrom of all time.

      You have the smarts and the necessary academic respect to make people take superintelligence seriously.

      Try to do the right thing, rather than the thing your brain is screaming is important.

    Not only do I not find your comment offensive or antisemitic, I appreciate it a lot. If you flatter me by overstating my importance, certainly you’re right that there are things I could be working on that seem vastly more amenable to progress than this.

    (I was telling someone the other day that it’s good to take my mind off of Israel and Palestine by thinking about more pleasant topics, like the prospect of killer robots extinguishing the human race… 🙂 )

    Look, if someone wanted to be massively politically incorrect, they might say: we’re in such a bad position today with understanding and controlling AI, in part because we don’t have anyone today quite like Einstein or von Neumann. And we don’t have anyone quite like them in part because the Holocaust extinguished a very unique culture that produced them. Those of us still around sometimes seem like second-stringers compared to what the early-20th-century math academies of Budapest and Warsaw were able to produce with regularity. So then how much worse a position might we be in, if Hamas got what it wanted and was able to carry out a second Holocaust in Israel?

    But since I don’t want to be that politically incorrect, I’ll say instead: whatever “academic respect” I have, I have in part because I live my life in the here-and-now, and not in expected-utility calculations about a radically unknown future (even if I sometimes enjoy entertaining the latter). As long as AI alignment is an intellectual concern, the impetus for action will be limited. So, how do we get people to feel about AI risk the same kinds of emotions they feel about Israel or Palestine? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure the answer is not by suppressing the latter emotions.

    One other thing: there’s always the question, whose values should the AI have? And one popular answer has always been something like, “it should have the consensus values of humanity.” But that doesn’t work—and perhaps the oldest example to show why it doesn’t work, is that the “consensus of humanity” for large fractions of recorded history has been that the Jews should be wiped out.

  119. fred Says:

    Scott #117

    “All I need is for people to support universal human rights and a two-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians could live side-by-side in peace.”

    Pardon my ignorance – I get that Palestinians having their own state is probably a necessary step in moving towards peace, but isn’t it the case that it may not be a sufficient step?
    E.g. after all, Lebanon is its own state, yet Hezbollah is right there constantly threatening Israel. Would Hezbollah and Hamas just become irrelevant once a two state solution happens? Given that Iran is behind them, I doubt it…
    A peaceful Palestinian state would probably have to be more similar to Egypt, with a government that’s openly anti-Islamist?

  120. Scott Says:

    fred #119: Of course it wouldn’t be sufficient, if the state wasn’t peaceful! That’s why I specified a peaceful two-state solution as the goal.

  121. Theorist, Israel Says:

    Dear “Arab Atheist”,

    I find your of arguments in comment #78 very weak across the board, with irrelevant links to wiki entries, and unsubstantiated half-truths that are supposed to put evidence to mere opinions and speculations (while failing to do so). I’d like to ask you a simple question to see where you are coming from (similar to what I mentioned before):
    Could you please provide a single example of a war that you consider to be moral, and legal within the remit of international combat laws, in the last 50 years, preferably between a state and an entity controlled by guerilla militants and proscribed terror groups? For example, was the recent war against ISIS legal and moral?

    Sincerely yours,

  122. fred Says:

    I don’t know how much Jewish Americans like Scott are following the news in Europe,
    but there’s a fierce debate going on in France around antisemitism.
    France is hosting both the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe,
    attacks against Jews are on the rise, and a couple days ago antisemitic tags have started to appear.

  123. Viktor Dukhovni Says:

    That comment re violence is thoroughly aligned with (reported by

    Hamas Official Ghazi Hamad: We Will Repeat the October 7 Attack Time and Again Until Israel Is Annihilated; We Are Victims – Everything We Do Is Justified

    There’s a bug in today’s culture. We’re raising a generation that is hypersensitised to and sympathises with victimhood, to the complete exclusion of all else. They don’t realise that Hamas would kill them next, given an opportunity.

  124. Atheist Arab Says:

    Theorist, Israel #121:

    > I find your arguments in comment #78 very weak across the board

    Thanks for being honest yet respectful.

    > irrelevant links to wiki entries, and unsubstantiated half-truths that are supposed to put evidence to mere opinions and speculations (while failing to do so).

    All the links are either to wikipedia articles or the odd CNN link. You’re free to dispute the truth of any one of them if you want to convince me they’re unsubstantiated half-truths. What I want to do is to establish through prior incidents that the IDF is more than willing and capable of committing war crimes, and lying about it through teeth.

    I’m not knowledgeable enough in history and geopolitics to make a momentous moral judgement of the caliber of “This war is justified”, but yes, I think that ISIS, Boko Haram, and Somali pirates are among the 3 non-state actors I can think of off the top of my head that I feel has no legitimate reason to exist and broadly support the war against them.


  125. icareaboutpeople Says:

    Scott, appreciate the response but you didn’t really engage with the crux of what I’m imploring you to step back from, which is your argument on intent. The reasons I listed show clear intent of ethnic cleansing and war crimes. I do agree with you on a two-state solution however I don’t think right now is the time to pivot to that while Israel continues a campaign of brutal mass killing. We can discuss a two-state solution once there is a cease-fire and as Americans it is our duty to call on our government to stop sending aid unless there are clear conditions attached about civilian casualties, humanitarian aid, etc. and we must push other citizens to do the same (hence why I’m here commenting). Do we agree that this is the utmost priority at this time? I stated in my initial comment that both sides are genocidal (I agree that from the river to the sea is unacceptable genocidal language on the Palestinian side, but that is not the priority right now as it’s not Israelis who are dying in the thousands right at this moment, it is Palestinians).

  126. MK Says:

    Adam Treat #113: Yes, the IDF might not have the intent to kill civilians. They’re just indifferent, just like you and I are indifferent to ants.

    > The IDF has been warning the civilian population of this camp to move south for *weeks* before targeting the terror tunnels.

    I leave it to you to imagine this situation from the point of view of a refugee in the camp. Do you leave, having nowhere else to go and needing to take care of your family, or do you stay and hope for the best?

    Also, your comment #111 reads to me as excessively aggressive.

  127. Gil Kalai Says:

    Thank you, Scott, for your support of Israel, the people of Israel, and the cause of humanity, at these difficult times, Gil.

  128. Scott Says:

    Gil Kalai #127: Even the darkest clouds have a silver lining. In this case, it seems to be total and unqualified agreement between us. 😀

  129. Scott Says:

    icareaboutpeople #125: I really appreciate your explicit support for the two-state solution. That might not be the priority for you, but for me, it’s the prerequisite to the whole conversation. Again and again this past month, I’ve interacted with people who decried the Israeli “atrocities,” “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide”—but then, on questioning, it became clear that they won’t be satisfied with any solution other than the ethnic cleansing of 7 million Israeli Jews. In which case, why even get into the specifics? But you are different.

    Regarding the morality of Israel’s current actions, you won’t be satisfied with my answer, but the truth is that I don’t know enough. This is partly my fault, for not delving into enough competing accounts in Hebrew and Arabic, etc, but partly the usual “fog of war” problem that I’m not there, don’t have access to the intel, and can’t sort out who’s telling the truth. We agree that thousands of Palestinian civilians including children are being killed, that this is tragic, and that Israel should do better (it should always do better). But questions likely to be cruxes include:

    – When a Hamas commander is taken out along with X civilians, how many of those counted as “civilians” were actually Hamas?

    – Were the civilians killed because of the direct effect of the Israeli strike, or because it ignited a Hamas munitions cache in the tunnels?

    – Did Israel warn the civilians to leave? Was it Hamas that prevented them from leaving?

    – What intel did Israel have about the target, and how reasonable does its decision look in light of that intel?

    Books will surely be written about what’s happening right now. Based on the conclusions of those books, I could imagine deciding anything from “I would not have been able to do better than Israel did, given the military objectives into which Hamas forced them,” to “while Israel was of course justified in principle to fight this war after Oct. 7, in practice they committed appalling violations of human rights that merit the world’s condemnation.”

  130. RD Says:

    Paul Graham tweeted this:

    College students mostly think what their teachers tell them to.

    I think it is relevant to the 48% statistic you cite. They’ve been educated to think in identity categories. Maybe in certain departments mostly. Otherwise, it would be closer to 100%!

  131. fred Says:

    A Hamas political leader is asked why they haven’t also built tunnels that Gaza civilians could use as shelters during bombings… he answers that protecting civilians is UN responsibility because 75% of them are refugees (?!).

  132. Jonah Says:

    Dear Scott, Atheist Arab, and all

    The argument over intent has a long history, being central to the infamous ‘Dresden defense’ in the Nuremberg trial of an SS commander, summarized here:

    In less sanitized words: the Nazi death squads themselves defended their actions by comparing them to those of the Allies, who invented carpet bombing of civilian cities with the express purpose of hastening the demise of Nazi Germany. Fortunately, the judges didn’t fall for it back then and neither should we now. Intent is *key* to morality (as recognized, for example, in Jewish religious tradition and modern legal practice: what’s the difference between murder and manslaughter?).

    Sadly, there is a widespread unwillingness among their sympathizers to acknowledge the genocidal intent of Hamas, as opposed to the defensive intent of the IDF or even, say, the Palestinian Authority security forces. References:

  133. Scott Says:

    RD #130: To be fair, Paul Graham also regularly tweets content severely critical of Israel. Which is striking, because I normally find myself in violent agreement with literally everything else he posts.

    I think part of the resolution is simply that I’m in the moderate wing of the “pro-Israel” side (I want a Palestinian state and a dismantling of settlements), and Paul is in the moderate wing of the “anti-Israel” side (by all indications, he’d let Israel continue to exist). So then it’s not obvious how much substantive values disagreement remains, and how much is resolvable-in-principle factual disagreements plus disagreements in emotional affect.

  134. fred Says:

    It’s also important to point out that the IDF bombing campaign has apparently wiped out entire neighborhoods – satellite imagery showing the before and after:

  135. fred Says:

    It seems that Biden’s unwavering support of the Netanyahu’s government could have far reaching consequences in the 2024 elections.

    (I have no idea whether the Jewish vote matters much in swing states).

  136. Nin Says:

    Scott, one question I find helpful to ask people on the other side of this issue is this: Let’s suppose Hamas killed around a thousand non combatants on oct 7 (setting aside how many of those were currently serving in the military or working for the Israeli government, and would therefore be fair game by Israel’s logic). With respect to Israel’s response, what is the smallest number you can come up with for the deaths of Palestinian non combatants that would cause you to see Israel’s actions as inhumane or excessive? There exists some such number, unless you are ok with actual genocide. So what do you come up with when you try to push it as low as possible?

  137. Scott Says:

    Nin #136: I find your question ill-defined for the following reason. When group X murders 1400 civilians from group Y, it’s not some one-off incident that calls for a one-off retaliation—that’s a completely wrong way to think about it. Rather, it’s a declaration of war. Group X has now made clear its more-than-theoretical intention to murder all of group Y if it can. So, now group Y has no choice except to remove X’s power to do that, and the war doesn’t end until Y either succeeds at that goal or kills itself trying. And, alas, there’s no way to predict in advance how many additional casualties there might be on either side—that’s the horrifying logic of war. But the alternative is for Y to go like sheep to the slaughter, and I hope anyone can understand that Jews are never doing that again.

  138. Nin Says:

    With respect, Scott, I didn’t ask you to predict anything. I asked you to run a thought experiment on an integer, n: “would i perceive Israel’s actions as inhumane or excessive if Israeli bombs killed n civilians”, and then do some kind of search to approximate the smallest such n. Behind the question is a question not about *whether* Israel must retaliate against Hamas and remove Hamas from power in Gaza. Rather it’s about *how* Israel goes about that. if there were no international community to witness it, the easiest solution and the one that would entail the least risk to Israeli soldiers would arguably be an actual genocide by aerial bombing. A final solution to the Gaza question. I know enough about you to know you wouldn’t support that. That makes 2.2 million an upper bound on the number I asked about. So the set exists. It’s nonempty. It’s a set of positive integers, so it has a smallest element. Where is the ill-definedness?

  139. icareaboutpeople Says:

    This will probably be my last comment because I don’t want to beat a dead horse and this must understandably be difficult for you but since the forum is here… I may as well use to once again ask you to walk back your claims on a difference in intent. One only needs to look at the action of shutting off water and electricity which none of your questions engage with. In regards to your questions, bombing the largest refugee center and the evacuation routes are both entirely unacceptable do you not agree? I don’t care if there’s a Hamas leader there (and btw that is all Israel claims with the refugee center. One Hamas leader. That is clearly not enough for mass civilian casualties in a refugee center they went to because of the carpet bombing by the IDF. Israel has made no defenses of bombing evacuation routes that they sent the Palestinians down in historic numbers with a historically short time-frame.) All of these show intent of war crimes and ethnic cleansing. We are talking about besieging a city of two million to hurt 30,000 fighters (who will largely be unharmed by this thanks to stockpiles and tunnels). At the very least it’s blatant war crimes and a treatment of another group of human beings as lesser than. These points simply cannot be argued. We do not need to wait for books. I’m sorry to pull this card but imagine if during the Bosnian genocide people said “we should just wait for the books to be written.” The situations are extremely similar, in fact the death tolls are now comparable to the Srebrenica massacre.

    The Israelis in power right now are just as opposed to a two-state solution as Hamas is. In fact In a 2015 interview, Smotrich stated that: “The Palestinian Authority is a burden, and Hamas is an asset”, noting that, while the PA was harming Israel in international forums, Hamas’ status as a terrorist organization meant that “no one will recognize it, no one will give it status at the International Criminal Court, no one will let it put forth a resolution at the U.N. Security Council.” He opposes Palestinian statehood as do many in the Netanyahu government, I won’t waste time quoting them all and all the dehumanizing things they’ve said about Palestinians (which I am glad to see you also despise). So we simply cannot make a two-state solution the priority right now. The intent on both sides is to wipe out the enemy, from Israel’s perspective because they require US support they mean to do it (and have said so outright) to weaken the palestinians through continued settlement, bombing, etc. until they either leave or are politically powerless. If it wasn’t for the reliance on US support it is unquestionable to me that Israel with its current government would wipe the Palestinians out of Israel entirely through even more mass killings and forceful deportations. So again I’d love it if you could walk back this repeated claim you’ve made that the intent is different (and upon what your entire moral argument relies).

    Can you not agree with me that the priority right now is to save lives and use our power as US citizens to make sure further aid is conditional and you should use your power as an Israeli to push for your government to exercise far more restraint and ensure healthcare services, water, and electricity are restored in Gaza?

  140. Michael Says:

    Nin #136 That’s the old calculus, where a certain amount of Palestinian misery will be determined to be ‘enough’ to pause and then end the conflict. Now, if you talk to (most) Israelis they view Hamas as an existential threat, and they are determined to eliminate Hamas completely. Israelis were really rattled by Oct. 7 in a way that’s hard for me to understand. I’m Jewish but I’m distant enough from the conflict that the whole thing just seems to be a much larger version of the usual back and forth, but to Israelis it’s a whole new world for them. The number of Palestinian casualties that is considered acceptable is “the minimum possible while Israel achieves their goals”. You can call it a genocide but the vast majority of Gazans will live to see another day after the war ends. Hopefully there will be some kind of peacekeeping force there after the war that will change the overall picture.

  141. Scott Says:

    Nin #138: I told you 100% clearly that I reject the entire conceptual framework “Israel gets to kill X people in exchange for Hamas killing Y people,” and you ignored me and went right back to that flawed framework. The point of attacking Hamas is not retribution; rather, it’s to destroy Hamas’s ability to carry out more such attacks. (In previous episodes, the point also included deterrence, but Israel is well past deterrence now.)

    The number of Palestinian lives that I want to be lost, is the absolute minimum number of lives that’s consistent with achieving that goal. I don’t know that number, but I expect it to be tragically high (because of Hamas’s practice of using civilians as shields), but not so high that it shows up in population statistics. If the number did show up in population statistics, I would indeed worry that the Israeli government had moved on from its legitimate military goals to ethnic cleansing. And if that turned out to be true, I would be outraged.

    This is, once again, in contrast to Hamas, which aims for the maximum number of dead Jews that it can achieve with its resources, and not in the service of some other military goal but because that is the goal.

  142. Scott Says:

    icareaboutpeople #139: I’m not Israeli, although my wife is. And I have no particular power over Israeli policy, assuming the generals don’t check Shtetl-Optimized. For what it’s worth, though, I enthusiastically support President Biden’s approach, of

    (1) making it massively clear to the Israelis that the US will help protect them from a second Holocaust, but then

    (2) coupling that support—possibly the most that any American President has ever shown the Jewish people—with constant urgings to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

    If not for (1), the traumatized Israelis would ignore (2), especially given the constant reminders that Hamas turns humanitarian assistance (including food, water, and power) to military purposes whenever it can. With (1), on the other hand, a center-left American administration can basically dictate to a far-right Israeli government what it is and isn’t allowed to do, and force the latter to listen to it.

    One byproduct of this crisis—especially, of Biden’s decisive leadership combined with Netanyahu’s staggering dereliction of duty—is that Israel has gotten closer to becoming a vassal state of the US. I see that as, on balance, probably a good thing, for Israel and for the Palestinians. It’s a tiny silver lining of a horrifying month.

  143. Nin Says:

    If I am tracking you, you first rejected a question I didn’t ask about how many casualties would be required for Israel to achieve its goal. You’ve now rejected a second question I didn’t ask about how many people Israel “gets to kill in exchange for those killed by Hamas.” Then, quite astonishly you went on to offer an answer to the question I *did* ask. Your answer is “the smallest number that would show up in population statistics.” I have no idea what you mean by this, even to within an order of magnitude, but it is a start that you’ve acknowledged that such a number exists. It sounds like you’re done with this conversation, but it would be interesting to hear you be more precise, and to explain precisely *why* that would be the minimal indication to you that “the Israeli government had moved on from its legitimate military goals to ethnic cleansing.” I’m sure you’re aware for instance that the Israeli government has drafted a concept paper exploring the possibility of forcibly expelling millions of Gazans into tent cities in the Sinai peninsula. This would be an act of ethnic cleansing, but it’s unclear if it would require that Israel kill so many that it “shows up in population statistics.” It may be sufficient just to terrorize the civilian population, kill many thousands of them, make it clear there is nowhere safe for them to shelter, and starve them of food water and medical supplies. At some point you may consider whether the acts of savage cruelty that you defend as necessary to defeating Hamas are actually aimed at something else. It would not be the first act of ethnic cleansing Israel carried out.

  144. AG Says:

    Scott #142: As John Schilling #61 so aptly put it: Hamas delenda est.

    And there is no doubt in my mind that Israel has the moral and legal right to do so.

    But is it wise and prudent, in fact, to pursue this goal to the full extent afforded by the law, moral and legal?

    This is the question that Israel’s people, its government, and its defence forces must be grappling with. As someone who was fortunate enough not to be directly affected by Hamas’ horrific massacre, it behooves me to remain silent. But your contention that Israel is “getting closer to becoming a vassal state of the US”, combined with the suzerain state youth apparently 48% Hamas sympathizers, as highlighted in the headline to this post, gives me pause.

  145. Nin Says:

    Michael #140, it seems to me that you’d have to know the minds of Israeli military officials in order to claim that Israel drops every bomb strictly in furtherance of the goal of destroying Hamas, and is in no way motivated by a desire for revenge on the people of Gaza or at the very least a general indifference to their suffering. I could make a long list of the proclamations made by senior Israeli officials over recent weeks suggesting that they *are* motivated by a desire for revenge on the people of Gaza. To show this sentiment is supported by a large number of Israeli people, I could point to TikTok videos of israelis mocking the suffering of the people of Gaza. I could point to surveys of Israelis indicating that they don’t think sparing the lives of Palestinian civilians should be a consideration in Israel’s operation in Gaza. A few nights ago a mob chanting “death to arabs” surrounded the dorms of arab students at netanya college. Of course I could also point to things that predate the current violence. For instance the Israeli minister of national security is avowedly racist against arabs and he has an adoring portrait on his wall of a man who is notable only for opening fire in a crowded mosque and killing 40 worshippers. To me it is preposterous to just assume that the military decisions of such a country, after suffering the atrocities of oct 7, is in no way motivated by a desire to punish the people of Gaza. If you know any Isrealis, i’d encourage you to ask them whether they agree. The ones I’ve spoken to do.

  146. Richard Gaylord Says:

    scott #142. your statement that Biden’s support of Israel is “possibly the most that any American President has ever shown the Jewish people” is mistaken. Though Biden’s initial support (which now appears to be wavering as he calls for a supposed humanitarian ‘pause’) is quite praiseworthy, Truman’s recognition of Israel within minutes of its creation is the most support ever received from a U.S. President.

  147. OhMyGoodness Says:

    Anonymous #107

    “Ironically, liberal American Jews have done much to nurture these destructive views. I hope the barbarism of October 7 leads to self reflection about self interest.”

    When self interest is involved then reflection. For the general case it remains ideology all the way down that manifests as the usual simple partisan politics.

  148. Scott Says:

    Nin #143, #145: Of course there are many Israelis who are motivated by revenge right now—how could there possibly not be, after the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust? And, sadly, there are those in Netanyahu’s orbit (like Ben-Gvir) who want the mass relocation of Palestinians, or possibly even their extermination. I’ve denounced that on this blog long before Oct 7, and it’s part of what motivated me to attend an anti-Netanyahu protest when I was last in Israel.

    And yet even here, with the most far-right and even racist government in Israel’s history, and in the middle of an existential war that was started by the other side, there’s still no policy either in principle or in practice of forcing the Palestinians out of Gaza let alone exterminating them. (If two million aren’t still in Gaza at the end of this, you can come back and tell me I was wrong.)

    By contrast, extermination of all Jews has been the official policy of Hamas since its founding, and the world saw on Oct 7 just how seriously they mean it.

    Since I despair of ever impressing on you the reality or the vastness of this gap, I regret that, yes, this conversation is now at an end.

    And I’ll close the entire thread shortly, since it’s clear that we aren’t breaking new ground.

  149. Max Madera Says:

    For what is worth, I am also in full support of the two-state solution.

    But I am not Israeli nor Palestinian, so my take on this is pretty much worthless.

    However, as an European, what I would like my government and the EU to do, is to not put all the blame on the failure of the two-state solution on Israel, regardless that Netanyahu is on power (and doesn’t help).

    On the contrary, we need now to put more pressure on the Palestinians. You can’t get help if there is no accountability on what the money is being used for. And you can’t get a state with border control if you are not a minimally trustworthy neighbor, so you better start behaving as such. It can not happen again that minutes after withdrawing a territory (call it Gaza) you start launching missiles. And you better start by fully recognizing the right of the Israelis to live in Israel in peace. And please, don’t forget to say that in Arabic too. Only after you do so, and after enough time that the Israelis can heal their wounds and start trusting in you, we can ask them to allow Palestine to exist as a full state.

  150. Demiurg Says:

    You changed your view of the conflict, but the sides involved in that conflict haven’t changed. Hamas is the same Hamas they were a year ago or in 2006, when they scored 44% in the elections. It’s easy to condemn Hamas, but what about those 44%?

  151. Michael Says:

    Nin #145 Well yes, there will be some desire for revenge, which is inevitable after the October 7 attacks and their long history together. I am not claiming to read the minds of Israeli officials, but am going by what I hear from Israelis and their supporters. But keep in mind that the international response to images of dead and injured Palestinian children is every bit as much of a weapon against Israel as the rockets and missiles fired by Hamas militants. If anything, they are more effective. So even if you’re right and Israeli officials secretly would like to see Gaza turned into a parking lot filled with corpses, the reality is that it’s better for their cause if it isn’t.