When Is It a War Crime to Defend Yourself? If You’re an Israeli.

Yesterday, Amnesty International issued its latest broadside at the State of Israel. The group’s report, titled “Black Friday: Carnage in Rafah” dutifully reported at length by the New York Times, seeks to portray an incident from last summer’s war in Gaza as an example of  particularly awful Israeli war crimes involving shelling of civilian areas and egregious loss of life. But, as with most such accusations, the closer you look at the charge the more it becomes clear that the point of the exercise isn’t merely a supposed quest for justice for dead Palestinians. While this must be seen in the context of a campaign to prepare war crimes charges against the Israel Defense Forces before the International Criminal Court that was recently joined by the Palestinian Authority, the effort has a broader purpose than merely beginning a human rights prosecution before that body. By expending a great deal of its limited resources on this one incident, Amnesty is seeking to make a much broader political point: delegitimizing Israeli self-defense under virtually any circumstances.

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When Is It a War Crime to Defend Yourself? If You’re an Israeli.

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The Alt-Right’s Victimhood Pimps

Social justice in a funhouse mirror.

White nationalism is identity politics. Indeed, it is identity politics in its most primordial form. The leaders of the violent white supremacists in Virginia this past weekend may preach confidence-building and self-actualization but, like so many identity-first movements, they and their followers are steeped in historical grievance—because that grievance conveys authority. In their minds, that sense of oppression entitles them to compensation for the indignities they or their forbearers endured. There are now social incentives in place to claim victimization, and such claims have proliferated as a result. This phenomenon is almost universal to identity politics m movements, and the alt-right is no exception.

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Trump Will Always Disappoint His Conservative Apologists

Waiting for a mature Trump.

It took fewer than 12 hours for Donald Trump to effectively retract his condemnation of the white nationalists behind the weekend bloodshed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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The Proliferation of America’s Enemies

Controversies come and go so fast in the Trump administration that it’s all too easy to lose sight of individual issues. It is, therefore, worth remembering that before the events in Charlottesville grabbed public attention on Saturday, the president had been making news with his bellicose statements against North Korea and Venezuela.

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We Are Cowards

We ignored the warning signs.

The only morally acceptable response to the events in Charlottesville is full-throated condemnation. Full stop. This is not the time for moral equivalencies. The barbarism committed by a white supremacist in the name of white supremacy should not elicit sympathy or a deeper exploration of root causes. The root cause of this weekend’s murderous violence is racism. The end.

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Explaining Trump’s Charlottesville Behavior

The nucleolus of Trump.

You can choose to have whatever opinion you have on the president’s statement today condemning white supremacists, but it’s hard to believe he would have read it out if he’d had his druthers. No, the real Donald Trump was the one we saw on Saturday when he decided to condemn violence “on many sides” in response to the deliberately provocative and intentionally violent neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia; when he decided to refer to the events as “sad” in tweets; when he wished “best regards” to those injured by the car that was deliberately smashed into them, killing 1 and injuring 20. When he acted in that way, he was operating according to his instinct. And his instinct said:  Do not attack the white supremacists.

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