While its vast network of attack tunnels do represent a threat, and its rocket and mortar attacks are intended to terrorize millions of Israelis, Hamas has no ability to actually defeat Israel. Its prime strategy is to win a propaganda war; Israel obliges (despite its phone calls and “knock on the roof” efforts to avoid civilian casualties) by inflicting massive harm on Gaza’s population and infrastructure.
The question of Israel’s responsibility repeatedly comes to the fore as horrific incidents of multiple killings of Palestinian civilians proliferate. A small group of former staffers for J Street, unhappy with what they regard as J Street’s too tepid response to events in Gaza, are organizing in New York, naming themselves after the third of Hillel’s classic questions, “If not now, when?” They are planning this event on Erev Tisha B’Av (tonight) in Brooklyn: If Not Now, When? posted in If Not Now Observes Tisha b’Av: Mourning Destruction in Israel & Palestine.
For background on J Street’s changed messaging on Israeli military actions since the 2009 Gaza war, read this analysis by our board’s resident historian on Jewish issues, Jerome Chanes: “Gaza And American Jews: ‘We Are One?’.”