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Armageddon in the Middle East? Rabbi David Wolpe on Israel, Palestine, Hamas, Gaza, and Anti-Semitism

Named The Most Influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek and one of the 50 Most Influential Jews in the World by The Jerusalem Post, and twice named one of the 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal, David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple. He is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity school and the Inaugural rabbinic fellow of the ADL. Rabbi Wolpe previously taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and UCLA.

A weekly columnist for the New York Jewish Week and weekly Torah columnist for the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Wolpe has been published and profiled in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic and many more. He has been featured on The Today Show, Face the Nation, ABC This Morning, and CBS This Morning. In addition, Rabbi Wolpe has appeared prominently in series on PBS, A&E, History Channel, and Discovery Channel, and has engaged in widely watched public debates with Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Michael Shermer and many others about religion and its place in the world.

He is the author of eight books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times (Riverhead). His new book is titled David, the Divided Heart (Yale U Press). It was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards, and has been optioned for a movie by Warner Bros.

Shermer and Wolpe discuss:

  • Israel: what happened to their vaunted security apparatus, intelligence agency and military readiness?
  • Zionism, Judaism, and Israel
  • Palestine, Palestinians, and the Gaza strip
  • Hamas, Hezbollah, and terrorism in the Middle East
  • West Bank issues with Palestine
  • U.S. support for Israel
  • Iran, the Iran Deal, and why they support terrorists
  • The Biden Administrations culpability in releasing/sending $16 billion to Iran
  • Lebanon
  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Shia and Sunni similarities and differences
  • Progressive Left failure to denounce Hamas terrorists
  • why students & student groups are pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel
  • the rise of anti-Semitism in recent years
  • proximate causes of anti-Semitism
  • ultimate causes of anti-Semitism
  • The Abraham Accords
  • The Two-State Solution.

Show Notes

The reaction from the political far left in the United States:

The day after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held a protest “in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid.”

Thirty-four Harvard student organizations signed a joint statement excusing the murder and kidnapping of women and children. “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame,” the statement read. “The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation.”

Wrote Yale Law Professor Zareena Grewal on X/Twitter, after the attack, “Prayers for Palestinians. Israel is a murderous, genocidal settler state, and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle, solidarity.”

Leaders of Black Lives Matter (BLM) wrote that it stands “in solidarity with our Palestinian family” and called on people to “understand the resistance in Palestine as an attempt to tear down the gates of the world’s largest open air prison.” The Chicago BLM chapter posted a graphic stating, “I Stand With Palestine,” along with a silhouette of a paraglider, referring to Hamas terrorists who had paraglided into a music festival and killed 260 young people.

Jerry Coyne on the Two-State Solution
  1. Since the 1930s, Palestinians turned down five offers of a two-state solution, and most of these offers were good ones—that is, offers that would be acceptable by centrists on the issue.
  2. Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution (and now neither do Israelis); most Palestinians want Israel eliminated.
  3. A two-state solution won’t eliminate Palestinian terrorism so long as many Palestinians want Israel wiped off the map
  4. The 1988 charter of Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel (see first paragraph). So long as Hamas is there, terrorism will be there, too.
  5. Terrorist attacks have been going on for some time: the violence that occurred in the last two days is simply an escalation of attacks on civilians that have been going on for decades.
  6. Palestinian children are inculcated from a young age in school with hatred of Jews, and terrorism and desire for martyrdom will remain until the propagandizing stops. This is, of course, a religiously-based form of anti-Semitism.
  7. Until Palestinians depose Hamas as rulers of Gaza, the violence and attempt to eliminate Israel will continue. Abbas, too, needs to be replaced.
  8. Those who blame the problems of Gaza on Israel not only neglect the diversion of humanitarian funds by Palestinians into terrorism, but the fact that corruption is so rife that the higher-ups in Hamas, Fatah, and even Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PA, are billionaires or millionaires. They have simply diverted money meant to go to poor Palestinians to their own bank accounts. Don’t believe me? Go here, here, here, here and here. It really angers me when people don’t even know this!

This episode was released on October 13, 2023.

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