WTH is Going On With the Hostage Rescue and Political Turmoil in Israel?
Haviv Rettig Gur Explains

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This past weekend, Israeli special forces rescued four hostages Hamas kidnapped on October 7 and held in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp. Israelis were ecstatic about the news. Meanwhile, Israel’s usual detractors in the West accused Israel of war crimes for harming “civilians” during the operation, apparently forgetting that Hamas chose to embed hostages within Gaza’s civilian population. What does the hostage rescue mean for the prospects of saving the remaining 120 hostages? Will turmoil and resignations at the senior levels of Israel’s national security government derail efforts to destroy Hamas? What does the future hold for this war amid growing threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon?

Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel’s senior analyst. Before joining the Times of Israel, he was a reporter for the Jerusalem Post. Haviv has reported from over 20 countries and served as director of communications for the Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel’s largest NGO. He lectures on Israeli politics, the US-Israel relationship, the peace process, modern Jewish history and identity, and Israel-diaspora relations. Haviv lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two sons.

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Last week, Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a felony after a New York State court found him guilty on 34 counts of concealing hush money payments to “influence the 2016 election.” Despite the precedent-breaking nature of the case, the stench of politics was strong: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg campaigned on the promise he would prosecute Trump, used novel legal theories to conjure a felony charge against the former president, and prosecuted a federal crime in a state court. Nor was Bragg alone: Judge Merchan not only allowed Bragg’s charges, but ruled with Bragg on every tough decision, and handed out jury instructions that all but guaranteed a conviction. Will Trump’s conviction get overturned on appeal? What does this conviction mean for Americans’ trust in our judicial system?

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. At GWU, he is also the Director of the Environmental Law Advocacy Center and Executive Director of the Project for Older Prisoners. Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, and members of Congress, and has testified before Congress over 100 times. His upcoming book is The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage (Simon and Schuster, 2024).

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Following a year of record-high antisemitic attacks and incidents on college campuses, students, professors, and administrators need to be held to account. But fighting hate speech in academia while upholding freedom of speech is a tricky line to balance. That’s why Reps. Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) are introducing the COLUMBIA Act – which would empower the Department of Education to appoint independent antisemitism monitors on campuses of concern – and were pioneers of the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which codifies the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. We talk about the role Civil Rights Act Title VI protections play for institutions receiving federal funding and get into how foreign actors are helping spread antisemitism in the US.

Representative Mike Lawler represents New York’s 17th Congressional District. Prior to serving in the House of Representatives, Rep. Lawler represented New York’s 97th District in the State Assembly. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Representative Ritchie Torres represents NY-15 in Congress. He is a member of the Committee on Financial Services and the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Before joining Congress, Rep. Torres served on New York City’s City Council.

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This week, International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan, K.C., announced on CNN that he will seek arrest warrants for Israel’s democratically elected Prime Minister and Defense Minister, as well as three members of Hamas leadership because of “crimes against humanity” related to October 7 and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war. Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute that underpins the ICC, which therefore has no legal jurisdiction in Israel. The ICC has admitted a “State of Palestine,” which theoretically grants jurisdiction over actions in “Palestine” and over Hamas figures. How should Washington respond to the ICC’s extrajudicial investigation? And how will the ICC’s announcement affect its global standing?

Tom Cotton is a United States Senator from Arkansas. Senator Cotton’s committees include the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism, the Intelligence Committee, and the Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Air Land Power Subcommittee. Before joining the Senate, Senator Cotton was a member of the House of Representatives and served on active duty in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer.

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President Biden is pushing through climate regulations at record speed as his administration, activists, and international organizations warn of an impending climate disaster absent drastic policy changes. But as the US pauses exports of liquefied natural gas and attempts to spend over a trillion dollars on climate initiatives, few stop to ask the question, “Is the world really headed towards climate apocalypse?” In short, no. Climate science relies on scenarios, of which there are thousands. However, billionaires, policymakers, and climate forums have ensured that the most extreme, outdated, and implausible scenario is now the global “baseline.” What do climate scientists actually think of RCP 8.5? And how can US policy better reflect the realities of climate change?

Roger Pielke Jr. is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on science and technology policy, the politicization of science, and energy and climate. He is concurrently a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder; a distinguished fellow at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan; a research associate of Risk Frontiers (Sydney, Australia); and an honorary professor of University College London. Dr. Pielke is a regular contributor for and oversees the popular substack The Honest Broker.

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Former president Donald Trump is on trial in New York over hush money payments made before the 2016 election. The only problem? Hush money payments as part of non-disclosure agreements are not illegal. New York State prosecutor Alvin Bragg alleges that by improperly filing the payments in Trump’s business records he was trying to conceal “another crime” – campaign finance law violations. Here’s the problem: Bragg not only lacks authority to prosecute campaign finance violations, but even the Biden administration’s Justice Department did not pursue campaign finance violation charges against Trump. Is Bragg’s case against Trump constitutional? And how will such politically motivated cases eat away at America’s rule of law?

John Yoo is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University. Yoo was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the general council of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department. His most recent book is The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Supreme Court (Regnery, 2023) with Robert Delahunty.

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Self-proclaimed “anti-Israel” and “anti-war” protests have gripped college campuses ever since Hamas’ brutal terrorist attack killed, injured, and took hostage thousands of Israeli civilians on October 7. However, in recent weeks, protesters have begun taking siege to universities across the country, setting up 77 “encampments” on quads, vandalizing property, barricading themselves in buildings, and physically and verbally assaulting Jewish students who dare to pass by them. The response from many college administrators and faculty has been timid, when not directly supportive of protesters that have turned violently antisemitic. Where does this antisemitism come from? And what can we do to stamp out the pervasive Jew-hatred plaguing our universities?

Adam Lehman is the President and CEO of Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization in the world. Adam started his career at Skadden, Arps, and spent two decades as an executive and entrepreneur, including as a Senior Vice President at AOL. He was a Harry S. Truman Scholar at Dartmouth College and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

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President Joe Biden is one of the least popular presidents in the history of presidential polling. Former President Donald Trump faces 91 charges across four criminal cases. Despite their woes and the overwhelming desire of the American people to vote “none of the above,” President Biden and former President Trump will still face off for the second time this November. How will these two senior citizens make the sale? What will most likely hurt them on November 4? Does a third-party candidate have a real shot at the presidency?

Amy Walter is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter. Amy is also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour, a regular Sunday panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, and appears frequently on CNN and Fox News. Previously, Amy was the political director of ABC News and an inaugural fellow at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.

Matthew Continetti is the director of Domestic Policy Studies and the inaugural Patrick and Charlene Neal Chair in American Prosperity at the American Enterprise Institute. His work has a particular focus on the development of the Republican Party in the 20th century. Matt was also the founding editor and the editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon.

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Last weekend, for the first time since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Iran launched a direct attack on Israel from Iranian territory. In total, some 170 drones, 120 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, and more than 30 cruise missiles targeted Israel, with most coming from Iran, and some from Iranian proxies in Iraq and Yemen. In response to what was a well-advertised attack, Israel, the United States, Great Britain, France, and Jordan (among other Arab countries) deployed from land, sea, and air with jets, missile defense, and a guided missile cruiser among a sophisticated array of defensive assets. As a result, a reported seven missiles landed mostly harmlessly in Israel, with injuries restricted to shrapnel injuring a young Bedouin girl. Israeli and American leaders were quick to celebrate Iran’s failed attack and the “restoration of deterrence.” But are the Israelis correct in celebrating Iran’s inability to cause real damage? Or are they ignoring the very real risk that seven Iranian missiles actually hit the State of Israel? What will Iran learn from this exercise? And how did their attack reflect the lessons Russia is learning on Iranian equipment in Ukraine?

Frederick W. Kagan is the director of AEI’s Critical Threats Project and a former professor of military history at the US Military Academy at West Point. He is the author of the 2007 report Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq, which is one of the intellectual architects of the successful “surge” strategy in Iraq, and the book Lessons for a Long War (AEI Press, 2010). His Critical Threats Project, alongside the Institute for the Study of War, releases regular updates on Iranian activity in the Middle East, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and transnational terrorism on the African continent.

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Joe Biden and the Democratic Party love labeling Donald Trump and his MAGA followers as the greatest threat to American democracy. So why are Democratic-aligned Super PACs funding self-declared MAGA candidates in GOP primaries? In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim explains that there are two reasons: The strategy has (so far) helped Democrats win in general elections; more importantly, Democrats long for a time when they were part of the heroic resistance against Trump. But this strategy could backfire: Democratic lawfare against Trump is helping him win over voters who think “the system” is rigged against them. And the moment a Democrat-funded MAGA candidate wins a general election, their warnings about MAGA’s threat to democracy will fall flat on its face.

Barton Swaim joined the Wall Street Journal as an editorial page writer in 2018. He writes a regular column on political books. Before joining the Journal, he was an opinion editor at the Weekly Standard. He is the author of The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics (Simon and Schuster, 2016).

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