• Joel Brown

    Staff Writer

    Portrait of Joel Brown. An older white man with greying brown hair, beard, and mustache and wearing glasses, white collared shirt, and navy blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey background.

    Joel Brown is a staff writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. He’s written more than 700 stories for the Boston Globe and has also written for the Boston Herald and the Greenfield Recorder. Profile

Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 12 comments on Does the United States Have the Clout to Alter Netanyahu’s Course in Gaza?

    1. I totally agree. I also agree with Mr. Storella about “facile analysis,” and I’d apply it to the entire situation as well — the conflict is centuries old.

      The US can offer to facilitate a conversation between Hamas and Israel — that’s it.

  1. Robert Gates once said that Biden has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy decision he’s made in the last forty years .. so, ‘why’ does thinking he’s gonna get this one right seem like a solid bet?

    Hamas ATTACKED Israel and brutally murdered non-combatants at a music festival .. the ratio of non-combatants to non-combatants killed on that day is NOT EVEN CLOSE to 10,000 of 30,000 in your text .. and SO MUCH of that carnage was FAR BEYOND any conventional definition of ‘war’ – the brutality of the Hamas combatants was nothing short of savagery, and the whole world saw what they did that day

    Worse, the Israeli army has come to now genuinely discover all of the past ‘theories’ as to how Hamas fights are actually ‘fact’ .. Hamas has outfitted schools / hospitals / churches / civilian communities as military installations – the tunnels and extensive infrastructure around these places can’t be ‘photoshopped’ and they don’t lie .. Hamas fights in a gorilla/terrorist manner – without any regard towards the lives of civilians, and that simply means that the IDF (and world community) has to accept that there will be extensive civilian casualties (of war) as they work to eradicate Hamas as an entity (in fighting cancer, there is often a big margin of healthy cells taken in the fight to eliminate the bad cells – it simply IS what it IS)

    Hamas is NOT representative of the average Muslim / Arab, and that’s best noted by the lack of willingness of other Arab countries to engage – they know that the IDF is fighting a cancer, and while they can talk mean / dirty, it too is in their interest to see this cancer removed

    What’s utterly shameful is that Hamas is still holding NON COMBATANT HOSTAGES and sitting idle allowing safe harbor to Hamas leadership to live outside of Gaza

    Turn this argument around a bit and talk less about what Israel should be doing and more about what Hamas ought to be doing .. for example, why hasn’t Hamas surrendered – they’ve obviously been decimated .. why hasn’t Hamas released the innocent hostages that they’re holding – they’ve sort of doubled down by adding their own so-called civilian population to the total of non-combatants being held .. etc etc etc

    You can’t negotiate with a terrorist .. cancer is awfully tough to beat without a willingness to make a BIG mess .. war is a dirty business .. and the world changed for Israel on a sunny day during a music festival

    Our US leadership hasn’t been this impotent since the Carter years .. we are NOT seen as strong, we don’t seem to hold any sort of moral high ground anymore, and the world (and worse, our adversaries) are watching

      1. Where are you drawing this angle from? This argument doesnt help your point at all. On Oct 7th there was over 30% military folk that were casualties. You can fact check this very easily ill just leave you with two sources, but if we take your stance that would be an argument against Isreal not for it considering the ratio was over 30% military to just 70% women and children alone in Gaza.

        https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20231215-israel-social-security-data-reveals-true-picture-of-oct-7-deaths

        https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2023/11/12/israel-revises-october-7-death-toll-after-agonizing-forensics/

    1. Outstanding Post. Every bit 100% correct. The problem isthat Leftists in the West are sympathizing with Hamas because they see Israel as a “colonizing” power. And when you are dealing with a “colonizer” – as Westererns have been told for decades through their biased, Leftist educational systems – nothing is out of bounds. Killing, raping, breaking the laws of war are all justified in their eyes because they see Israel as some kind of modern-day Western colonizing power which deserves everything it gets. Hamas, on the other hand, is fighting back against a combination of white supremacy, racism, capitalism and colonialism – all of which Israel represents in Leftist Western eyes.

      This skewed mindset of misplaced guilt and broke logic is being inculctated, as we speak, across Boston University and all of the West right now. If you want to know why hundreds of thousands of Americans are marching in support of Hamas and celebrating the atrocity of October 7, start right there.

  2. As always, only Western countries are assumed to have agency. Non-western entities are percieved as hapless victims: thus, they can neither be blamed for anything nor be allowed to take responsibility for anything. Only the West can be bad, but (apparently) only the West and Westerners have any choice about the matter. This is the worldview forced upon us by those who beat the non-stop drum of racism. Unbelieveable.

  3. Where can Israel get that magic pixie dust that makes intense urban warfare again a terrorist organization hiding among civilians squeaky clean, where only Hamas dies and everyone is happy? If Biden has some, then he should stop yapping and just share it.

  4. No mention is made of Israel being taken to the International Criminal Court or the long history of credible accusations against the country. My grandparents were forced to flee the homes their families had lived in for generations, my relatives in the West Bank are threatened regularly by the state of Israel. Israel has encroached illegally and unjustly on Palestinian land and people since its inception, somehow in all this the gentlest terms are used to criticize Israel despite it “being a military superpower.”

    This is all talked about in terms of elections and a “three-dimensional diplomatic chess game going on right now,” this shows a clear disregard for human life and a double sided approach. Israel’s violence is treated as justified but no context is given for its 75+ years of brutal colonial rule. Jonathan Glazed put it better than I could in his speech at the Oscar’s, he says that it is the Israeli “occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza — all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?” When a people are aggressed against for almost a century how do you expect them to work against it? Those who died and were kidnapped on the October 7th attacks were civilians but the blame lies solely on Israel for making Palestinian people feel like they have no other choice. When Israel consistently flaunts international and humanitarian law and is given cover by most of the Western world it is emboldened to increase its brutality and then people are surprised when there is a response to said brutality.

    Mentions are made vaguely of “Arab Americans” possibly costing Biden the election, ignoring the wide ranging protests that have been ongoing in this country since many grew aware of Israel’s vicious actions and policies.There is this condescending tone when you say that “for most of the United States, this is a foreign policy issue. For many Arab Americans, it’s not just foreign policy,” We are treated as outliers, as being too sensitive to another example of the US aiding and abetting the destruction of our homelands. You say that “generally, in American politics, foreign policy doesn’t play that big a role.” But when “[you] wonder what other votes he would lose,” from pulling away from Israel you don’t give these theoretical voters the same attitude that their behavior would be an outlier. You say that Biden has his hands tied and that the US can’t simply stop sending weapons but he has actively and actually bypassed Congress to send billions of dollars of equipment used to slaughter Palestinians. You do not discuss the theoretical impact of sanctions or the current impacts of boycotts and divestment on the country and companies that support it, you treat all of this as an inevitability and that to me is more dangerous than any “facile analysis of what is going on.”

  5. The title of the article is “Does the United States Have the Clout to Alter Netanyahu’s Course in Gaza?” yet the article doesn’t mention the fact that Israel, the world’s largest importer of weapons, receives the majority of its weapon imports from the U.S. The article doesn’t mention the fact that in 1982 Ronald Reagan, through a phone call, urged Menachem Begin to end the bombing of Beirut on Black Thursday. The bombing ended within an hour of that phone call. The article doesn’t mention the fact that Joe Biden in 2021, through a series of phone calls over four days, got Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire after bombing Gaza for 11 straight days.

    There’s no question that the United States has the power to end this Israeli-led, US-backed, genocide of the people of Palestine. The question is whether Joe Biden and his administration wish to use that power and the answer seems clear up to this moment.

  6. Back to the original question. No, the US does not have clout. Not without a coherent foreign policy — in the Middle East or anywhere else. Blinken makes a trip and can’t know if Biden’s policy will change before he gets back home. The “finger in the dike” strategy is doomed because the dike has too many holes, and they’re all over the world.

    The people waving Palestinian flags around here are both victims and perpetuators of the “facile” approach Storella warned against. The conflict is not decades old, nor centuries old, but millennia old. Few seem to realize that.

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *