Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Mitchell Bard


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  • Campus wars are now more intense but not new

    Mitchell Bard|May 31, 2024

    (JNS) — The demonization of Israel and antisemitism on campus may be more intense than in the past, but it’s not new. This is why it is even more damning that the Jewish community was ineffective in acting before the smoke turned into a blaze. As early as 1983, I wrote about the propaganda war on campus in the Jewish newspaper in Berkeley, Calif. “We should not let ourselves be intimidated by individuals or crowds,” I wrote. One problem was that “there are very few students on this campus with the knowledge, articulateness and inclinati...

  • Abandoning Jerusalem is a losing electoral strategy

    Mitchell Bard|May 24, 2024

    (JNS) — With polls indicating that U.S. President Joe Biden’s re-election chances are getting slimmer, his campaign advisers have been pushing him to the left and seeking to mollify progressives by more bellicosely criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and punishing Israel by suspending arms deliveries. The more voluble demonizers of the Jewish state are drowning out the pro-Israel majority within his base. If he doesn’t listen to them, perhaps he will heed the advice of veteran Democratic pollster Mark Penn, who expla...

  • Iran didn't hear, 'Don't'

    Mitchell Bard|Apr 26, 2024

    (JNS) — The words you are looking for are, “Thank you, Mr. President.” I have not hesitated to criticize many of U.S. President Joe Biden’s policies before and after Oct. 7, but I have also consistently maintained that he has been the most pro-Israel president ever during any of Israel’s wars. That should have been obvious this past weekend when the United States coordinated a regional air defense that helped Israel avoid suffering any serious harm from a barrage of more than 300 Iranian drones and missiles. It was the first time U.S. forc...

  • Which state? Biden's or the Palestinians?

    Mitchell Bard|Mar 1, 2024

    By Mitchell Bard (JNS) - The Biden administration is trying to pressure Israel to accept its idyllic vision of the Middle East by threatening to recognize a Palestinian state. The Israeli government should answer in the immortal words of actor Clint Eastwood in the "Dirty Harry" films: "Go ahead. Make my day." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should explain what will happen the day after the United States makes its announcement. Israel will recognize "Palestine" and inform the...

  • Biden executive order should sanction Palestinians 

    Mitchell Bard|Feb 16, 2024

    President Biden should be thanked for his executive order to sanction four settlers because, in doing so, he essentially undercut its premise, that there are “particular high levels of extremist settler violence.” He has recognized that only .001 percent of the 517,406 Jews living in the West Bank are engaged in such violence. This gives a better indication than media reports of the true extent of the problem. More names may be added, but it will still represent an infinitesimal fraction of the people his administration has demonized. More imp...

  • The State Department vs. reality

    Mitchell Bard|Jan 26, 2024

    (JNS) — One of the characteristics of Arabists is that they are incapable of admitting or learning from mistakes. Secretary of Arabism (U.S. Secretary of State) Antony Blinken, continues to be the poster adult for their obliviousness. In the latest example, he channels his equally clueless predecessor, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. For those with short memories, like journalists covering the Middle East, here’s what Kerry said in 2016: I’ve talked to the leaders of the Arab community, there will be no advanced and separate peace...

  • To the media, Hamas terrorists are ghosts

    Mitchell Bard|Jan 5, 2024

    (JNS) — Following Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon, veteran journalist Marvin Kalb, senior fellow at Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, detailed how Hezbollah manipulated the press. A similar report can be written when the war with Hamas is over. In the following excerpts, substitute Hamas for Hezbollah. Israel is automatically at a disadvantage in any conflict because it is an open society. “During the war,” Kalb noted, “no Hezbollah secrets were disclosed, but in Israel, secrets were leaked, rumors spre...

  • Who are the Gaza civilians?

    Mitchell Bard|Oct 27, 2023

    (JNS) — Let’s state a few things at the outset. Many Palestinians oppose Hamas and violence. Every possible effort should be made to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip. No one residing in Gaza would be in danger if Hamas had not launched rockets into Israel and committed a massacre of Jews not seen since the Holocaust. What else do we know about the people of Gaza? The people elected Hamas in the last election held in the Palestinian Authority, and surveys consistently have shown that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is more popular than P.A. hea...

  • The elephant outside the room

    Mitchell Bard|Sep 29, 2023

    (JNS) — It’s become a cliché to say that Jews are our own worst enemies. Nowhere is that truer than in academia, where Jewish professors, often from the field of Jewish and Middle East studies, have become some of Israel’s most vitriolic critics. Several decided to write an anti-Israel screed and solicit signatures from colleagues and, later, anyone happy to sign their name. The text was originally written by Lior Sternfeld, professor of history and Jewish studies at Penn State (and associate editor of Palestine/Israel Review, whose editor...

  • Orwell's view on antisemitism was not Orwellian

    Mitchell Bard|Aug 18, 2023

    (JNS) - It's popular to refer to contemporary issues as Orwellian, and one must wonder whether George Orwell would see echoes of his dystopian vision of 1984 in 2023. I'm not sure how many people are aware that Orwell also wrote about antisemitism in Britain, and that his observations on the subject also resonate today. Writing in 1945, Orwell said he was speaking based on his own experience. He reported that antisemitism was increasing and had been "greatly exacerbated" by the war. He did not...

  • The antisemitic BDS war on celebrities

    Mitchell Bard|Jun 30, 2023

    (JNS) — The BDS movement has been a total failure. It has not damaged Israel’s economy, it has not turned Israel into a pariah, it has not changed Israeli policy, and it has not destroyed the Jewish state. The BDS movement has tried to create the image of winning by claiming phony victories. It has also capitalized by convincing a handful of mostly B- and C-list celebrities to shun Israel. The fight to achieve these symbolic “victories” is the subject of Lana Melman’s well-researched book, “Artists Under Fire: The BDS War Against Celebrities...

  • Forget Biden's strategy, (A)I have the solution to antisemitism

    Mitchell Bard|Jun 16, 2023

    (JNS) — Apparently recognizing my intelligence, Google has named its artificial intelligence service after me. Given the current interest in antisemitism generated by the new strategy of the Biden administration which I have found wanting, it seems appropriate to see what Bard would suggest. Here is what (A)I recommend for dealing with the campus: • Increase awareness and education about antisemitism. Many students are unaware of the history and nature of antisemitism, or they may not understand how it can manifest itself in different ways. By...

  • Let's focus on who abuses Palestinian human rights

    Mitchell Bard|May 19, 2023

    (JNS) — In addition to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many Palestinians live in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Roughly 98 percent of Palestinians in the disputed territories are ruled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinian human-rights advocates, NGOs, international bodies, the media and campus activists focus on Israeli policies. The principal abusers of Palestinians, however, are their fellow Palestinians and other Arabs. For example, Bassam Tawil noted in just the last week, the media widely reported on the death of a senior m...

  • 1,660 Israelis dead since Palestinians' promise to end terror

    Mitchell Bard|May 5, 2023

    (JNS) — It will be 30 years in September since a grim Yitzhak Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn with a beaming Yasser Arafat following the signing of the Declaration of Principles that marked the beginning of what many thought could be a five-year road to peace. Plenty of people were skeptical and now are happy to say, “I told you so.” There will be plenty of time for the rehash on the anniversary of the Oslo Accords, but I was struck by a statistic that really tells you all you need to know about why the cynics proved right. A mothe...

  • Democratic poll numbers: Preview of the apocalypse?

    Mitchell Bard|Apr 28, 2023

    (JNS) Gallup’s headline was attention-grabbing: “Democrats’ Sympathies in Middle East Shift to Palestinians.” The trend has been clear and seemingly inexorable since support hit its second-highest level of 58 percent in 2014 (the peak was at the time of the 1991 Gulf War when support for Israel hit its high for the first time—64 percent —and Democratic support was 62 percent) and steadily fell to 38 percent in 2023. During that period, sympathy for the Palestinians increased from 23 percent to 49 percent. Meanwhile, Republican support has...

  • Bibi and the Golden Calf

    Mitchell Bard|Apr 7, 2023

    One of the disturbing things about watching the judiciary food fight in Israel is that the supporters of the most extreme reform proposals act as though those changes were inscribed on a tablet by God that Bibi brought down from Sinai, and that all of the protesters are worshiping a golden calf. I’m not concerned that Israeli democracy is in danger, because what I am watching is the best of the democratic nature of Israel in the streets, where hundreds of thousands of citizens believe they are acting to protect their democracy. Bibi’s loy...

  • Stop subsidizing the murder of Americans, Mr. President

    Mitchell Bard|Mar 10, 2023

    (JNS) — One of those Palestinians who the U.S. State Department keeps telling us wants a two-state solution murdered yet another Israeli, this time an American citizen. Elan Ganeles, a 27-year-old in town to attend a friend’s wedding, was shot dead by a Palestinian terrorist on a highway between Jericho and the Dead Sea. I’m not sure how many people are aware of the number of American victims of Palestinian terror. Since 1970, at least 80 Americans have been killed and 87 wounded in Israel and the disputed territories. During that time, nearl...

  • Jews who defend antisemites

    Mitchell Bard|Jan 20, 2023

    (JNS) — It seems that every Jewish organization claims it is fighting antisemitism. Yet, it is clear that they are failing. Many reasons account for the spread of this cancer. One is that some Jews are antisemites or have taken positions that are antisemitic. Others are enablers of antisemitism. Jew-versus-Jew is not a new story, but usually, we have managed to unite to fight a common enemy. Now we are proving the adage that we are our own worst enemies. While it is true that antisemitism is a disease of both the far-right and the far-left, w...

  • Don't get hysterical over Israel's election

    Mitchell Bard|Nov 18, 2022

    (JNS) — New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has predictably described the results of Israel’s Nov. 1 election in apocalyptic terms. Of course, any government that does not share his views is anathema. The same goes for many other critics. The doomsayers predicting the demise of U.S.-Israel relations are crying wolf. Israel demonstrated again that it has a super-democracy that Americans and Jews should be proud of. Instead of being limited to choosing between two parties, Israelis had a choice of 40, giving them a better opportunity to be...

  • The tragedy of Jews who can't stand with Israel

    Mitchell Bard|Oct 7, 2022

    (JNS) — “We stand with Israel.” That is the sign in front of my Conservative synagogue and many other synagogues. What could be less controversial? What could be more fundamental to Jewish identity? Alas, at too many synagogues, standing with Israel is too much for some. On Rosh Hashanah, my rabbi felt compelled to defend the sign after a congregant complained. He later admitted to me that he’s not sure such a sign could be put up in the Bay Area where he previously lived. Even worse, the problem is no longer surprising. A year ago, while t...

  • Who is more anti-Semitic: The right or the left?

    Mitchell Bard|Aug 19, 2022

    (JNS) — In the current poisonous political atmosphere, many accusations are made by the right and left, each asserting the other is most responsible for all evil in the world. This is equally true regarding campuses. As with so much political rhetoric, little is based on research rather than individuals’ view through partisan goggles. But what does the data show? No one study is likely to be accepted or conclusive, but I ran across an interesting one by Eitan Hersh, an associate professor at Tufts University, and Laura Royden, a Ph.D. can...

  • A wise voice from history

    Mitchell Bard|Jul 1, 2022

    (JNS) — As I was researching the Six-Day War fought 55 years ago, I stumbled across an article written by Christopher Sykes, the son of Sir Mark Sykes, the British diplomat who negotiated the Sykes-Picot agreement with François Georges-Picot. Christopher was a diplomat, soldier and foreign correspondent who wrote about the war in the February 1968 issue of Encounter. He made several keen observations that are relevant today. Sykes said that he had firm convictions about “the rights and wrongs of the opening of the June war; the need for a unit...

  • Antisemitism isn't a strong enough word

    Mitchell Bard|Jun 3, 2022

    (JNS) — Supporters of the BDS movement against Israel claim they are not antisemitic. I have co/ncluded that they are correct in the sense that the word “antisemitism” is too weak to capture their depravity. It is not necessary to go into the myriad examples of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to define “antisemitism,” the word means hatred of Jews. Lots of individuals and groups hate Jews and have for centuries. More recently, a new form of anti-Semitism emerged in which “Israel” or “Zionist” is used as a euphemism for “Je...

  • They're pro-Israel, 'Dayenu'

    Mitchell Bard|Apr 15, 2022

    (JNS) — I know many Jews from the older (than me) generation whose response to political issues was: “Is it good for the Jews?” The younger generations viewed this as myopic and anachronistic. Elderly Jews were particularistic; the younger “enlightened” Jews were universalistic. Many conservative Jews of all ages have become increasingly like their grandparents. Throughout the Trump administration, they could set aside his transgressions because he was in their view the most pro-Israel president in history. Dayenu. Now we have the controversy o...

  • Prepare a war-crimes tribunal for Putin

    Mitchell Bard|Apr 8, 2022

    (JNS) — As the evidence of war crimes committed by the Russians in Ukraine mounts, and President Joe Biden has already labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” the United States should lay the groundwork for a war-crimes trial patterned after the Nuremberg trials following World War II. A tribunal should be formed with the most esteemed jurists from the United States, Britain, France, and perhaps one or more other countries, to ensure a fair and credible trial of Putin and the officers who carried out his orders. The Inter...

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