Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, December 11, 2023





Tuesday, December 12, 2023

8pm EST - 7pm CST - 6pm MST - 5pm PST





"The Rock" on top of Bernal Hill overlooking downtown San Francisco re-painted October 26, 2023, after pro-Israeli Zionist's destroyed it. 

Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of December 8, 2023the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 21,731* (over 900 killed Dec. 2-5 alone)and more than 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank in the past month. 
8,300 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons. More than 2,000 Palestinians have been arrested since Oct. 7.

*Please note that the U.S. media has been reporting the death toll in Gaza as "over 15,000" since at least November 27th, yet Israel has continued bombing northern Gaza and began its ground assault on southern Gaza, Dec. 2nd, killing hundreds more every day. Another 6,000 or so are reported missing. They are just not counting the dead anymore.

Israelis killed and abducted by Hamas: 
A total of 1,200* Israelis killed by Hamas (30 of them children) and 239 abducted on October 7, 2023.
Israel has revised its official estimated death toll of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, lowering the number to about 1,200 people, down from more than 1,400, a spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday night.




Ann Boyer’s Powerful New York Times Resignation Letter

November 17, 2023

Read: The War Turns Gaza Into a ‘Graveyard’ for Children, By Raja Abdulrahim, Photographs by Samar Abu Elouf and Yousef Masoud, Nov. 18, 2023


According to Literary Hub[1], "[Early on November 16, 2023], the news broke that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist, and poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine, Anne Boyer, has resigned from her post, writing in her resignation letter that 'the Israeli state’s U.S.-backed war against the people of Gaza is not a war for anyone...'"


The letter in full is written below:


"I have resigned as poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine.

"The Israeli state’s U.S-backed war against the people of Gaza is not a war for anyone. There is no safety in it or from it, not for Israel, not for the United States or Europe, and especially not for the many Jewish people slandered by those who claim falsely to fight in their names. Its only profit is the deadly profit of oil interests and weapon manufacturers.

"The world, the future, our hearts—everything grows smaller and harder from this war. It is not only a war of missiles and land invasions. It is an ongoing war against the people of Palestine, people who have resisted throughout decades of occupation, forced dislocation, deprivation, surveillance, siege, imprisonment, and torture.

"Because our status quo is self-expression, sometimes the most effective mode of protest for artists is to refuse.

"I can’t write about poetry amidst the ‘reasonable’ tones of those who aim to acclimatize us to this unreasonable suffering. No more ghoulish euphemisms. No more verbally sanitized hellscapes. No more warmongering lies.

"If this resignation leaves a hole in the news the size of poetry, then that is the true shape of the present."

—Anne Boyer

[1] https://lithub.com/read-anne-boyers-extraordinary-resignation-letter-from-the-new-york-times/



Viva Fidel!







To endorse the following statement as a trade unionist, please click here:



To endorse as other, please click here:



The list of signers will be updated periodically

Contact: info@laborforpalestine.net

Website: laborforpalestine.net


Stand With Palestinian Workers: 

Cease the Genocide Now—Stop Arming Israel!

Labor for Palestine


“We need you to take immediate action—wherever you are in the world—to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of the blockade.” An Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel (October 16, 2023)


The undersigned U.S. workers, trade unionists, and anti-apartheid activists join labor around the world in condemning the Israeli siege on Gaza that has killed or maimed thousands of Palestinians—many of them children—and stand with Palestinians’ “right to exist, resist, return, and self-determination.”


The latest Israeli attacks reflect more than a century of ongoing Zionist settler-colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleansing, racism, genocide, and apartheid—including Israel’s establishment through the uprooting and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba. Indeed, eighty percent of the 2.3 million people in Gaza are refugees from other parts of historic Palestine.


Israel’s crimes are only possible because of more than $3.8 billion a year (or $10+ million per day) in bipartisan US military aid that gives Israel the guns, bullets, tanks, ships, jet fighters, missiles, helicopters, white phosphorus and other weapons to kill and maim the Palestinian people. This is the same system of racist state violence that, through shared surveillance technology and police exchange programs, brutalizes BIPOC and working class people in the United States and around the world.


In response, we demand an immediate end to the genocide, and embrace the recent Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel:


1.     To refuse to build weapons destined for Israel. To refuse to transport weapons to Israel. 


2.     To pass motions in their trade union to this effect. 


3.     To take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution. 


4.     Pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel, and in the case of the U.S., funding to it.


We further reaffirm the call on labor bodies to respect previous Palestinian trade union appeals for solidarity by adopting this statement, and/or the model resolution below to divest from Israel Bonds, sever all ties with the Israel’s racist labor federation, the Histadrut, and its US mouthpiece, the Jewish Labor Committee, and respect the Palestinian picket line for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). 


Initial Signers on behalf of Labor for Palestine

(organizational affiliations listed for identification only)

Suzanne Adely, Labor for Palestine, US Palestinian Community Network, Arab Workers Resource Center; Food Chain Workers Alliance (staff); President, National Lawyers Guild; Monadel Herzallah, Arab American Union Members Council; Ruth Jennison, Department Rep., Massachusetts Society of Professors, MTA, NEA; Co-Chair, Labor Standing Committee River Valley DSA; Delegate to Western Mass Area Labor Federation; Lara Kiswani, Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC); Block the Boat; Michael Letwin, Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Jews for Palestinian Right of Return; Corinna Mullin, PSC-CUNY International Committee; CUNY for Palestine; Clarence Thomas, Co-Chair, Million Worker March; Executive Board, ILWU Local 10 (retired.)



Jewish Doctor Speaks Out on Israel and Palestine

Dr. Gabor Maté, Hungarian-Canadian physician and author describes his own life experience and expresses his view on the situation in Israel and Palestine.

“I’m personally a Holocaust survivor as an infant, I barely survived. My grandparents were killed in Auschwitz and most of my extended family were killed. I became a Zionist; this dream of the Jewish people resurrected in their historical homeland and the barbed wire of Auschwitz being replaced by the boundaries of a Jewish state with a powerful army…and then I found out that it wasn’t exactly like that, that in order to make this Jewish dream a reality we had to visit a nightmare on the local population.

“There’s no way you could have ever created a Jewish state without oppressing and expelling the local population. Jewish Israeli historians have shown without a doubt that the expulsion of Palestinians was persistent, pervasive, cruel, murderous and with deliberate intent—that’s what’s called the ‘Nakba’ in Arabic; the ‘disaster’ or the ‘catastrophe.’ There’s a law that you cannot deny the Holocaust, but in Israel you’re not allowed to mention the Nakba, even though it’s at the very basis of the foundation of Israel.

“I visited the Occupied Territories (West Bank) during the first intifada. I cried every day for two weeks at what I saw; the brutality of the occupation, the petty harassment, the murderousness of it, the cutting down of Palestinian olive groves, the denial of water rights, the humiliations...and this went on, and now it’s much worse than it was then.

“It’s the longest ethnic cleansing operation in the 20th and 21st century. I could land in Tel Aviv tomorrow and demand citizenship but my Palestinian friend in Vancouver, who was born in Jerusalem, can’t even visit!

“So, then you have these miserable people packed into this, horrible…people call it an ‘outdoor prison,’ which is what it is. You don’t have to support Hamas policies to stand up for Palestinian rights, that’s a complete falsity. You think the worst thing you can say about Hamas, multiply it by a thousand times, and it still will not meet the Israeli repression and killing and dispossession of Palestinians.

“And ‘anybody who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite’ is simply an egregious attempt to intimidate good non-Jews who are willing to stand up for what is true.”

—Independent Catholic News, October 16, 2023






the French word

for rabies


la rage -

rage or outrage



the French have a saying -

a man who wants to get rid of his dog

accuses it of spreading rabies


the people of Gaza

treated as inhuman animals

worse than dogs

are charged

with terrorism


come to think of it

what an honor !


world war two's resistance

against nazi extermination

was designated

as terrorism

by the Axis allies


what an honor !



was monitored

as a terrorist

by the CIA


What an honor !



peacefully meditating

near Israeli-funded cop city

was executed

in cold blood

on suspicion

of domestic terrorism 


What an honor !


in the spirit of Mandela

in the spirit of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising

in the spirit of Tortuguita

in the spirit of Attica

may the anti colonial outrage

of the People of Palestine

contaminate us all -

the only epidemic

worth dying for


 (c) Julia Wright. October 17 2023. All Rights Reserved To The family of Wadea Al- Fayoume.



The ongoing Zionist theft of Palestinian land from 1946 to now.

77 years of brutal oppression must end!

End all U.S. aid to Israel now!

For a democratic, secular Palestine!



Free Julian Assange

Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange


Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:


Find your representatives:



Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 


Leave a message on the White House comment line to 

Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 


             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST


Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 



Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!


Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Poetic Petition to Genocide Joe Before He Eats His Turkey 

By Julia Wright


Mr Genocide Joe

you have helped broker

a Thanksgiving truce

in Gaza

where your zionist partners

in war crimes

say they will stop

slaughtering "human animals"

for four days



Mr Genocide Joe

closer to home

you have your own hostages

taken in the cointelpro wars

who still languish

in cages

treated worse than animals




as you pardon

two turkeys

in the White House today

as you get ready to eat your military turkey

and have it too

it would at last be time

to unchain

at least two of your own "human animals" -

Mumia Abu-Jamal


Leonard Peltier


(c) Julia Wright. November 25, 2023. All Rights Reserved to Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier’s Letter Delivered to Supporters on September 12, 2023, in Front of the Whitehouse


Dear friends, relatives, supporters, loved ones:


Seventy-nine years old. Mother Earth has taken us on another journey around Grandfather Sun.  Babies have taken their first breath. People have lived, loved, and died. Seeds have been planted and sent their roots deep below red earth and their breath to the Stars and our Ancestors.


I am still here.


Time has twisted one more year out of me. A year that has been a moment.  A year that has been a lifetime. For almost five decades I’ve existed in a cage of concrete and steel.  With the “good time” calculations of the system, I’ve actually served over 60 years.


Year after year, I have encouraged you to live as spirit warriors. Even while in here, I can envision what is real and far beyond these walls.  I’ve seen a reawakening of an ancient Native pride that does my heart good.


I may leave this place in a box. That is a cold truth. But I have put my heart and soul into making our world a better place and there is a lot of work left to do – I would like to get out and do it with you.


I know that the spirit warriors coming up behind me have the heart and soul to fight racism and oppression, and to fight the greed that is poisoning our lands, waters, and people. 


We are still here.


Remember who you are, even if they come for your land, your water, your family. We are children of Mother Earth and we owe her and her other children our care.


I long to turn my face to the sky. In this cage, I am denied that simple pleasure. I am in prison, but in my mind, I remain as I was born: a free Native spirit.


That is what allows me to laugh, keeps me laughing. These walls cannot contain my laughter – or my hope.


I know there are those who stand with me, who work around the clock for my freedom. I have been blessed to have such friends.


We are still here and you give me hope. 


I hope to breathe free air before I die. Hope is a hard thing to hold, but no one is strong enough to take it from me. 


I love you. I hope for you. I pray for you. 


And prayer is more than a cry to the Creator that runs through your head.  Prayer is an action.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse



Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

Video at:


Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603



Updates From Kevin Cooper 

March 23, 2023 

Dear Friends and Comrades, 

This is Kevin Cooper writing and sending this update to you in 'Peace & Solidarity'. First and foremost I am well and healthy, and over the ill effect(s) that I went through after that biased report from MoFo, and their pro prosecution and law enforcement experts. I am back working with my legal team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

'We' have made great progress in refuting all that those experts from MoFo came up with by twisting the truth to fit their narrative, or omitting things, ignoring, things, and using all the other tactics that they did to reach their conclusions. Orrick has hired four(4) real experts who have no questionable backgrounds. One is a DNA attorney, like Barry Scheck of the innocence project in New York is for example. A DNA expert, a expect to refute what they say Jousha Ryen said when he was a child, and his memory. A expect on the credibility of MoFo's experts, and the attorney's at Orrick are dealing with the legal issues.

This all is taking a little longer than we first expected it to take, and that in part is because 'we' have to make sure everything is correct in what we have in our reply. We cannot put ourselves in a situation where we can be refuted... Second, some of our experts had other things planned, like court cases and such before they got the phone call from Rene, the now lead attorney of the Orrick team. With that being said, I can say that our experts, and legal team have shown, and will show to the power(s) that be that MoFo's DNA expert could not have come to the conclusion(s) that he came to, without having used 'junk science'! They, and by they I mean my entire legal team, including our experts, have done what we have done ever since Orrick took my case on in 2004, shown that all that is being said by MoFo's experts is not true, and we are once again having to show what the truth really is.

Will this work with the Governor? Who knows... 'but' we are going to try! One of our comrades, Rebecca D.   said to me, 'You and Mumia'...meaning that my case and the case of Mumia Abu Jamal are cases in which no matter what evidence comes out supporting our innocence, or prosecution misconduct, we cannot get a break. That the forces in the so called justice system won't let us go. 'Yes' she is correct about that sad to say...

Our reply will be out hopefully in the not too distant future, and that's because the people in Sacramento have been put on notice that it is coming, and why. Every one of you will receive our draft copy of the reply according to Rene because he wants feedback on it. Carole and others will send it out once they receive it. 'We' were on the verge of getting me out, and those people knew it, so they sabotaged what the Governor ordered them to do, look at all the evidence as well as the DNA evidence. They did not do that, they made this a DNA case, by doing what they did, and twisted the facts on the other issues that they dealt with.   'more later'...

In Struggle & Solidarity,

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974



Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)



Letter from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

November 6, 2023

      I’m back at Red Onion. I have no lines of communication. They have me in the B-3 torture cellblock again where there is no access to a kiosk and they’re withholding my tablet anyway. Even if I had it, it’s no use with no kiosk to sync it to and send/receive messages.

      This was a hit. Came from DOC HQ in response folks complaining about my being thrown in solitary at Sussex and the planted knife thing. Kyle Rosch was in on it. The warden and AW here said he’s having me sent back out of state. In any case I don’t want be in this racist trap.

      They cut all my outstanding medical referrals to send here cuz there’s no major medical facility in this remote region. I was pending referral to the cardiac clinic at MCV hospital (Medical College of Virginia), which is on the other side of the state. Also was pending referral to urology there. They were supposed to do testing for congestive heart failure and kidney problems related to my legs, feet, and ankles chronic swelling, and other undiagnosed issues: chronic cough, fluid weight gain, sweats, fatigue, chest pain. They just cut these referrals all of which I have copies of from my medical files.

      They’ve been removing documents from my file too. Like the order I had for oversize handcuffs—which I was gassed the morning I was transferred here for asking the transferring pigs to honor. They took the order out of my file to try to cover their asses. I and others have copies of that too. At this point things are hectic. I’m back in old form now. I was somewhat in hiatus, trying to get the medical care I needed and not provoking them to avoid the bs while that was going on. But the bs has found me once again : ). I need all possible help here. At a level a bit more intense than in the past cuz I need that diagnostic care they cut the referrals for and it’s not available in this remote area. They’d have to send me back to Sussex or another prison near MCU in the VDOC’s Central or Eastern Region. I’m in the most remote corner of the Western Region. My health is not good! And they’re using the medical quack staff here to rubber stamp blocking my referrals.

      Although that lawyer may have given you a message from me, she is not helping me in any way. So no-one should assume because a lawyer surfaced that she is working on anything to aid me. Just have to emphasize that cuz past experience has shown that folks will take a lawyer’s seeming presence as grounds to believe that means some substantial help is here and their help is not needed. Again, I need all possible help here….My health depends on this call for help in a more immediate sense than the cancer situation. I’m having breathing and mobility problems, possibly cardiac related.


      All power to the people!



We need to contact these Virginia Department of Corrections personnel to protest:: 


VADOC~ Central Administration; USPS—P.O. Box 26963; Richmond, VA 23261

David  Robinson Phone : 804-887-8078, Email~david.robinson@vadoc.virginia.gov

Virginia DOC ~ Director, Chadwick S Dotson, Phone~ (804) 674-3081 Email~Chadwick.Dotson@.vadoc.virginia.gov


Virginia Department of Corrections Interstate Compact Liaison

Kyle Rosch, Phone: 804-887-8404, Email: kyle.rosch@vadoc.virginia.gov


VADOC ~Central Administration

Rose L. Durbin, Phone~804-887-7921Email~Rose.Durbin@vadoc.virgina.gov


Red Onion~ Warden, Richard E White, USPS—10800 H. Jack Rose Hwy., Pound, VA 24279

Phone: (276) 796-3536;(or 7510)  Email~ rick.white@vadoc.virginia.gov


Red Onion State Prison, Assistant Warden

Shannon Fuller Phone: 276-796-7510  Email: shannon.fuller@VADOC.virginia.gov


Write to Rashid: 

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson #1007485 

Red Onion State Prison

10800 H. Jack Rose Hwy

Pound, VA 24279




The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



Sign the petition:




Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!

Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression



Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 


The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 


Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.


Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 


State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) For Palestinians, the Future Is Being Bulldozed

By Megan K. Stack, Photographs by Samar Hazboun, Dec. 9, 2023

The white wall of a demolished home stands alone under the sun. Distant hills are seen through two empty windows.
A demolished home in the West Bank village Khirbet Zanuta.Samar Hazboun for The New York Times

The men came alone that morning, leaving families and sheep behind, and climbed the hill to see what was left of their village. On the sun-bleached crest, they found a scene of wreckage: The windows of the makeshift clinic had been smashed, household furniture lay shattered; sections of the schoolhouse had been burned to ash. There were drifts of clothing and stray shoes spread on the ground throughout the abandoned village, small things dropped in haste when the families fled.


The Palestinians who live (or lived) in this hilltop hamlet had decamped in terror a few weeks earlier. A gang of Israeli settlers — their neighbors — had been tormenting them for weeks, they explained, beating them up and threatening murder if they didn’t leave.


Similar scenes are playing out across the West Bank these days as Israeli settlers, backed and sometimes aided by soldiers, force Arabs out of villages, farmlands and herding pastures. Human rights monitors say they are documenting an apparently coordinated campaign to bring vast swaths of land under the control of Jewish settlements (all of which are illegal under international law, and some of which are also illegal under Israeli law) while forcing Palestinians into densely populated cities and towns.


I was visiting the occupied territory that morning late last month for the first time since reporting here two decades ago. Insofar as one can still traverse the increasingly checkpoint-choked and claustrophobic West Bank, I’d been roaming around talking with Palestinians and trying to speak with settlers, who tended to rebuff conversation. Statehood has long been promised to Palestinians and is still invoked by U.S. officials in increasingly hollow platitudes. But what land remains for Palestinians, what rights do Palestinians have, what possibilities for collective betterment — indeed, what future — can Palestinians see?


It’s not a revelation to suggest that the dream of a Palestinian state, rooted in the West Bank, may turn out to be something we just talked about while a harder destiny slowly manifested. But what if the alternative to Palestinian sovereignty is not, as I’ve long supposed, a slow and messy acceptance of a single state for everybody but instead more displacement and death? I used to assume the international community, for all the fecklessness it has shown here, would stop Palestinians from falling too far, being killed in numbers that were too great, losing too much territory. Now I look at Gaza, and I look at the West Bank, and I’m not so sure.


All of that was playing in my mind as I watched the men of Khirbet Zanuta trudge up the hill to try to get home — only to be met by representatives of the various forces arrayed against them: Israeli military power, religious zealots and faceless technology.


On the hilltop, an official with Israel’s Civil Administration awaited them in boots and camouflage. The administration is the powerful bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation and, given the dysfunction of Palestinian officialdom and Israeli oppression, it is the closest simulacrum of governance that many Palestinians experience.


“How did he know we were coming?” the village head, Fayez Til, told me he wondered as he walked over to the official. Mr. Til was plainly dressed and distinctly unarmed, in comparison with his visitor. He speaks Hebrew and studied nursing at Hebron University and treated patients at the village clinic before the settlers started marauding.


The uniformed visitor laid down the law in soft, even tones: If you insist on coming home, he told Mr. Til with an air of generosity, you can — so long as you accept its trashed condition. “It’s as-is,” he said, as if he were selling a house. Army drones had photographed every detail, he explained. If the residents moved so much as a stone or pulled a tarp over an unroofed house, it would be considered an illegal construction, and there could be trouble.


Mr. Til and the others were incredulous: What if it rains?, they pressed. What about the summer sun? The official held firm: You move things, you put up a tarp, you break the law. And then, having delivered this discouraging welcome, he drove off.


Mr. Til and the other men paced and muttered, absorbing the official’s message. By fleeing their homes, they had shown that it was possible to frighten them off the land; now their position appeared even more precarious. Fuad Al-Amor, who oversees a council of 24 villages in the South Hebron Hills, including this one, put it succinctly: “It’s easy to leave. It’s not easy to come back.”


Soon a beat-up Isuzu pickup crunched up the hill. Eyes darted and a ripple of attention slid through the morning air: the settlers. Like many Palestinians, the men of the village know their tormentors quite well. It’s usually the same people: their neighbors.


Three settlers hopped down from the truck — young men who, in an American college town, would pass as worse-for-wear frat boys who’d just woken up after a rough night of drinking. Sunburned and insolent, they swaggered around, smoking cigarettes and demanding information from the villagers.


“You don’t live here anymore. You left. What are you doing here?” one of the young men asked Mr. Til. “Where are you sleeping at night?”


“We didn’t leave,” Mr. Til replied quietly. His posture and tone were deferential. At least one of the settlers carried a pistol stuck in the back of his pants.


As a Palestinian civilian, Mr. Til is forbidden to own a gun, and even if the settlers hit him, he would be ill advised to strike back. Both law and practice are tilted against him. In the West Bank, settlers enjoy the full protection of Israeli civil and criminal law, while their Palestinians neighbors are subject to draconian military orders. That means, among other things, that Palestinians can be indefinitely imprisoned without charge.


Settlers, on the other hand, are routinely armed to the teeth. Many of them recently got government-issued assault rifles in a drive to harden Israeli defenses. The national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a settlement dweller himself, was filmed passing out rifles to settlers. On Monday, Israel’s head of firearms licensing resigned in a scandal over the distribution of illegal gun licenses; a senior security official told the Haaretz newspaper the government was “handing out guns like candy.”


“You left,” the settler yelled again, stepping close to Mr. Til. “Where did you sleep?” His two friends circled restlessly behind him.


“This is our land,” Mr. Til said.


“This is Jewish land for more than 3,000 years,” the young man said.


Mr. Til sat on a boulder and lit a cigarette. The three settlers formed a triangle before him. One of them hocked theatrically and then spat.


After pacing and smoking for a while, the settlers piled back into the truck and left. They ignored my questions, saying, “I’m not interested.” One of them, a lean young man in khaki pants, called out menacingly to Mr. Til before they left: “We’re coming back to have a party here.”


Next came a drone, buzzing overhead like some huge, ominous hornet, creeping low over the villagers’ heads, then swinging up into the air again, circling and hovering. The settlers use the drones to monitor and pester them, the men explained. The buzzing noises drive the sheep crazy, they added, causing the ewes to suffer miscarriages.


“We’re not worried about how they talk and what they say,” a villager named Raed Battat told me dryly when I mentioned the settlers’ ominous visit. “We’re worried about what they do.”


Mr. Battat said his 72-year-old father had agreed to flee after settlers broke his solar panels, busted his water barrels and came at midnight to throw rocks at him through the windows.


Still, Mr. Battat and Mr. Til tried to project determination. They would endure the attacks and hang on to their land, they insisted. But a faded conviction had come into their faces, and an unspoken understanding seemed to have taken hold. The mood on the hilltop had darkened. I tried to imagine the terror of spending the night up here, vulnerable under the sky to whoever might come.


When a photographer from The Times visited the village the next day, it was once again abandoned.


When land keeps changing hands, inaction is also a kind of action. Negotiations have been dead since 2014, and Israeli military occupation of the West Bank is now so old that it more closely resembles annexation. Israeli officials make tortured arguments that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are legal. They’re not; international law prohibits occupying powers from transferring their own people to live on occupied land. And yet the settlements keep growing, feeding on the belief that Judea and Samaria (the biblical names preferred by settlers) are the God-given home of the Jews. Palestinians keep getting shoved into smaller spaces. In a book I wrote more than a decade ago, I pointed out — as many others have — that, even then, there wasn’t enough contiguous land for a state.


Still, the West Bank had lingered all these years in my memory as a fundamentally Palestinian expanse, interrupted and speckled with settlements. Not anymore. Visiting in late November, I had the feeling of entering a vast settlement dotted with Arab communities and refugee camps, shrinking remnants of an earlier place.


I shared this impression with Diana Buttu, a lawyer and former adviser to Palestine Liberation Organization negotiators. She replied by describing an unremarkable thing that sounded amazing to me because I never saw it: You could once drive down main roads in the West Bank, she recalled, straight into Palestinian cities. Settler bypass roads built since the 1990s — a nominal period of peace that nevertheless saw settlements expand at an unprecedented clip — routed traffic away from the places where Palestinians lived, restricted or even banned Palestinian cars and helped to choke off Palestinians’ movement.


Ms. Buttu grew up in Canada on stories of the 1948 destruction of her family’s village near Nazareth. “It wasn’t a one-time event. It was uprooting an entire community,” she said. Ms. Buttu was a ubiquitous presence during the peace talks of the early aughts but has come to regret her role in the negotiations. She no longer believes that Israel was bargaining in good faith and regards the talks as a largely theatrical process that kept everybody busy while Palestinians literally lost ground.


“It gave this very false impression that there was movement happening, and it served as a great distraction,” Ms. Buttu said. “The common diplomatic refrain was, ‘It’s OK, it will go with the negotiations.’ More settlements got built, but, ‘It’s OK, because they’ll go with negotiation.’”


Even U.S. observers sympathetic to Palestinians tend to describe the existing oppression as an unmovable reality. But this, too, is inaccurate, for things have clearly gotten worse.


Under the Oslo Accords, which were the agreements that brushed closest to making peace here, the largest chunk of territory in the West Bank, known as Area C, was to gradually transition to Palestinian jurisdiction, albeit with negotiating room for land swaps.


But that logic has since been turned entirely on its head. Israeli settlers, enthusiastically backed by key parts of the far-right Israeli government, are openly seeking to thin the Arab presence from the same land once envisioned as the raw material of a future Palestinian state. The forced displacement of Khirbet Zanuta is part of that movement, known by some hard-line settlers as “the battle for Area C.”


The legalistic contortions altering the landscape of the West Bank are various: designating land a “firing zone” needed for military training; invoking Ottoman law under which the state may seize uncultivated land. Even archaeological sites — of which there is no shortage in the Holy Land — can be used as a justification for displacing Palestinians.


And then there’s the question of permits.


Palestinians in the West Bank have long lived under a tyranny of impossible paperwork. Despite severe water shortages and a 75 percent Palestinian population growth since the agreement stipulating the amount of water Palestinians could draw from a shared water source was set in 1995, Arabs need a permit to dig a water well. Settlers, who consume about three times as much water as Palestinians per capita, enjoy the luxury of being connected to Israeli water lines. This fall, I was shown secret wells that Palestinians, in desperation, had dug by hand and camouflaged to avoid detection by settlers.


Permits are also needed to build new houses or buildings in Area C, or to renovate existing structures. But building permits are virtually never granted to Palestinians anymore — by the Israeli military’s own account, less than 1 percent of Palestinian permit requests have been granted in recent years. It wasn’t always this hard: In 1972, 97 percent of Palestinian building permits were approved.


And yet, of course, babies keep coming and buildings get old — homes and schools must be built, fixed and expanded. Palestinians build when they can, eking out an increasingly extralegal existence. The lack of permits means that Israeli bulldozers may come without warning to pull it all to the ground.


Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, is a co-founder of a somewhat surreal but undeniably effective NGO called Regavim. Mr. Smotrich has lamented that Israel’s founders didn’t “finish the job” of removing Arabs from Israel and argued in March that there is “no such thing as a Palestinian people.” The organization he founded neatly reflects his thinking.


Mr. Smotrich and his ideological companions are themselves devoted to rampant Jewish settlement expansion. And yet Regavim busily works the courts to shut down what the group describes as an epidemic of illegal Palestinian construction in Area C — illegal under Israeli law because Israel has mostly stopped granting permits to Arabs. The organization describes Palestinian construction as a kind of sinister plot designed to create a state in Area C.


In one typical campaign, Regavim zeroed in on an elementary school built in the impoverished village of Jubbet Adh Dib with European Union funds. The organization petitioned the court for demolition, arguing that the structure was unsafe. In May, the Israeli military arrived before dawn and razed the school. That was, in fact, the second school the village lost to Israeli bulldozers — in 2017, Israel demolished an earlier school and confiscated a solar power system installed with funds from the Dutch government. When the Dutch protested, Israel returned the solar panels.


Jubbet Adh Dib has no electricity without the solar panels and has struggled to maintain water access, which villagers lost for a time as the neighboring settlement expanded. When the village invested in a small pickup truck and a digger, they said, Israeli soldiers confiscated the equipment. With scant employment opportunities, some of the villagers have earned money working construction jobs at the neighboring settlement — even if they feel they are building the instrument of their own expulsion.


“You despise yourself for doing that,” said Fadia Alwahsh, a mother of six and head of the village women’s council. “But there are no alternatives.”


Since the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7, the villagers are no longer allowed to work in the settlement. Threats from the settlers have increased, they said. Stray dogs released into the village killed most of the chickens, they said, and the baker decamped to Bethlehem after getting beaten up.


“They terrorize us at night, send messages to leave the village,” Ms. Alwahsh told me. “We sleep in our clothes. We are constantly terrified.”


Josh Hasten, a spokesman for the surrounding settlements, called the villagers’ account “hard to believe.” While not explicitly denying that the villagers have been threatened and harassed, he argued that the violence of extremist settlers has been grossly exaggerated.


“There are over 500,000 peaceful, law-abiding Israelis living in Judea and Samaria,” Mr. Hasten said “We are opposed to violence, but it is minuscule when compared to the coverage it gets, and in scope compared to the deadly attacks carried out against Jews by Arabs in our areas.”


But to Palestinians, the scenes in the West Bank amount to what a longtime Palestinian politician, Hanan Ashrawi, calls “annexation on steroids.”


Dr. Ashrawi told me she’s been unspeakably frustrated to hear U.S. politicians talking in recent weeks about a Palestinian state. It was painful, she pointed out, for Palestinians to accept the terms on which statehood was offered — as a parallel country that would permanently enshrine Palestinian exile from lost homes within Israel proper. Considering what Palestinians have lost since 1948, when Israel was founded at the cost of violently displacing hundreds of thousands of Arabs, the state is arguably a paltry promise. And yet perpetually unfilled.


“For years they saw Israel build settlements, steal land, evict Palestinians,” she said. “Biden suddenly woke up.”


“Now he can talk about the two-state solution,” she added. “Well, good morning. It’s too late.”


“I saw my neighbor just now,” Issa Amro told me. “He said, ‘I don’t like to see you.’”


We were sitting on decrepit sofas in Mr. Amro’s garden, under an old and gnarled olive tree, as skittering clouds washed light and shadow over the hills of Hebron below.


“Which neighbor?” I asked.


“That one right there,” Mr. Amro said, gesturing toward the pomegranate tree that marked the end of his garden. A group of Orthodox men sat on the balcony of the neighboring house, just around the corner; their voices rang clear through the air.


“What’s it like to hear that from your neighbor?” I was trying to imagine.


“That’s nothing,” he snorted. “Sometimes they tell me, ‘I will kill you.’”


Standing on the edge of Mr. Amro’s property, I tried to start a conversation with the men on the balcony. They stared at me and said nothing. After a few minutes, they moved inside.


The presence of Mr. Amro, an engineer by training and a defiant philosopher-provocateur by nature, in this house, squeezed between hostile settlers and military posts, is itself a form of resistance. Mr. Amro lives in Tel Rumeida, an ancient Hebron neighborhood now controlled by Israeli forces. It is the militarized home of a beleaguered community of Palestinians and some of the most notoriously and unabashedly anti-Arab settlers in the West Bank.


With security cameras monitoring his house and a GoPro camera slung around his neck when he goes out, Mr. Amro keeps a growing collection of videos documenting his humiliations and assaults at the hands of settlers and soldiers. He has sometimes sued his assailants and has twice been granted compensation from the Israeli government and, once, a settler (Mr. Amro said the settler never paid him).


He has also been indicted on 18 charges, including participating in an illegal gathering (any get-together where 10 or more Palestinians discuss politics requires a permit) and insulting a soldier.


After Hamas unleashed the fateful storm of atrocities upon Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, Mr. Amro noticed his settler neighbors had started wearing military uniforms and teamed up with the soldiers in hybrid militias. I heard the same thing from Palestinians in other parts of the West Bank, as well as from human rights groups — the line between settlers and soldiers, it seems, has never been so muddy. (A representative of Israel’s military said that “any misconduct of reservists” is treated “with the utmost severity.”)


Mr. Amro was walking home on Oct. 7 when he was seized and taken to a nearby military trailer by one such group, he said. The soldiers and settlers beat and kicked him, spat on him and staged mock executions. The men were gleeful, Mr. Amro said, filming videos of his torture and playing music.


At one point, Mr. Amro said, his next-door neighbor taunted, “See what I can do to you?” and then punched him in the face. Mr. Amro also said that one of the soldiers called him “my bitch” and threatened to force him to perform oral sex. After 10 hours of torment, when the group finally took him back to the road, Mr. Amro anticipated a bullet in the back as he walked away.


“I was telling myself, ‘If I am going to die, if they want to kill me, I will show them I’m not afraid,’” Mr. Amro told me. He asked for a jacket, he recalled, hoping his captors wouldn’t realize he was shivering in fear.


But the gunshot didn’t come. Mr. Amro went home and resumed his usual harrowing existence.


Later in October, another problem: Soldiers evicted Mr. Amro from his house in what he understood as a punishment for hosting visitors. He was expelled to the Palestinian-controlled part of Hebron, known as H1, and spent more than two weeks arguing to come back.


When he finally made it back home, he found a scene of vandalism and wreckage. He found a video on Instagram in which a settler had filmed himself roaming around the house.


I pressed Mr. Amro: What is the experience of living next to a neighbor who hates you so much? A person who throws rocks at you, cheerfully promises to kill you, comes when you’re away to break your things?


“It’s really painful,” Mr. Amro finally said. “It’s not just that they hate me. They have supremacy.”


As we sat in the garden, browsing through Mr. Amro’s videos, voices rang from the road out front. A procession of people had paused to chat with the settler neighbors. The tones were jovial and brisk. It’s a tour, Mr. Amro explained. The group moved on. I glimpsed hats and calf-length skirts and a voluble man leading them along. He was Yishai Fleisher, an American-accented podcaster and spokesman for Hebron settlers.


I spoke with Mr. Fleisher later. He told me that he wanted Hebron to be a city of Jewish sovereignty and that he dreamed of a Jewish state where the only Arabs would be “non-jihadist, pro-Israel” people who were satisfied to do without the right to vote.


The main problem in the region, according to Mr. Fleisher, is jihad. He advocates a harsh crackdown on Palestinians, speaks admiringly of Saudi beheadings and insists that Israel should “start talking in Arab — and not the language of Arabic.” Jihad, he explained, is not just acts of violence but a broad cultural contamination. If you only fight terrorists, Mr. Fleisher argued, you’re doing it wrong — you have to go after anyone who upholds the culture.


Then he told me that he considers Mr. Amro, a secular figure who models himself on Gandhi, a jihadist.


“The jihad has many faces,” Mr. Fleisher said. “He’s the soft face.”


I used to think that hard-line settlers like Mr. Fleisher were delusional — so enraptured by religion or drunk on nationalism that they couldn’t perceive the impossibility of a West Bank drained of its Arab inhabitants.


But maybe I’m the delusional one. The settlers are winning, and not only because they have staunch allies in the government. The slow trajectories of movement and control suggest an ethnic cleansing in slow motion. Settlers have bent the landscape to their will and created an overwhelming reality that would be very difficult to erase.


Palestinian civilians have been left to endure an unpredictable and often violent campaign by their neighbors. There’s nobody to call for help. You can’t defend yourself. It’s an extreme and chilling vulnerability.


Whatever comes next, it will surely be shaped by this realization: The Palestinians are out there on their own now. Nobody is coming to save the day.


Megan K. Stack is a contributing Opinion writer and author. She has been a correspondent in China, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Afghanistan and the U.S.-Mexico border area. Her first book, a narrative account of the post-Sept. 11 wars, was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. @Megankstack



2) As Fury Erupts Over Campus Antisemitism, Conservatives Seize the Moment

Republicans have been attacking elite universities for years. After a tense congressional hearing last week, many on the left are joining them.

By Nicholas Confessore, Dec. 10, 2023

“‘If you don’t think that Israel has a right to exist, that is antisemitic,’ said Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, who suggested she would seek to impose new federal rules around anti-Israel statements if elected president. ‘We will change the definition so that every government, every school, has to acknowledge the definition for what it is.’”

Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, Liz Magill, President of University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Pamela Nadell, Professor of History and Jewish Studies at American University, and Dr. Sally Kornbluth, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. Credit...Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

For years, conservatives have struggled to persuade American voters that the left-wing tilt of higher education is not only wrong but dangerous. Universities and their students, they’ve argued, have been increasingly clenched by suffocating ideologies — political correctness in one decade, overweening “social justice” in another, “woke-ism” most recently — that shouldn’t be dismissed as academic fads or harmless zeal.


The validation they have sought seemed to finally arrive this fall, as campuses convulsed with protests against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and hostile, sometimes violent, rhetoric toward Jews. It came to a head last week on Capitol Hill, as the presidents of three elite universities struggled to answer a question about whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate school rules, and Republicans asserted that outbreaks of campus antisemitism were a symptom of the radical ideas they had long warned about. On Saturday, amid the fallout, one of those presidents, M. Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned.


For Republicans, the rise of antisemitic speech and the timid responses of some academic leaders presented a long-sought opportunity to flip the political script and cast liberals or their institutions as hateful and intolerant. “What I’m describing is a grave danger inherent in assenting to the race-based ideology of the radical left,” said Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, at the hearing, adding, “Institutional antisemitism and hate are among the poison fruits of your institution’s cultures.”


The potency of the critique was underscored by how many Democrats joined the attack.


The three college presidents were denounced by a spokesman for President Biden. He was echoed by other Democratic officials, like Pennsylvania’s governor, Josh Shapiro, who joined calls for Ms. Magill’s firing. Some prominent business leaders with liberal leanings said they had failed to understand what was really happening in higher education.


“For a long time i said that antisemitism, particularly on the american left, was not as bad as people claimed,” wrote Sam Altman, head of the artificial intelligence firm OpenAI and a major Democratic donor, on X. “i’d like to just state that i was totally wrong.”


Just as celebratory rallies in the aftermath of Hamas’s October rampage have split Jewish progressives from some of their own longtime allies, anti-Israel protests on campus in recent weeks have driven a wedge into the Democratic Party more broadly. They have turned prominent politicians and executives against institutions where they are more accustomed to send their children or deliver commencement addresses.


It has even fractured the #MeToo cause, as prominent liberal women, such as the former Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, question why advocacy groups and institutions dedicated to women’s rights were so slow to speak as evidence emerged that the Hamas attackers on Oct. 7 wielded rape as a weapon of war.


On the presidential campaign trail, where Republican contenders largely phased out their critiques of college woke-ism this summer after finding it had limited appeal to a broader political audience, the issue came back to the fore at last Wednesday’s debate.


“If you don’t think that Israel has a right to exist, that is antisemitic,” said Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, who suggested she would seek to impose new federal rules around anti-Israel statements if elected president. “We will change the definition so that every government, every school, has to acknowledge the definition for what it is.”


The Republican counterattacks come after several years in which prominent conservatives began to embrace an antisemitic, race-based ideology of their own: so-called replacement theory, which holds that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to replace and disempower white Americans, in part by encouraging unfettered immigration. The theory has helped inspire several mass shootings in the United States in recent years, even as echoes of its central tenets become more common in mainstream Republican politics. Last week, while Ms. Haley attacked antisemitism on the Republican stage, another candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, declared replacement theory to be a “basic statement of the Democratic Party’s platform.”


Yet for many on the right, the careful, evasive answers from three college presidents at Tuesday’s hearing — Ms. Magill, Claudine Gay of Harvard and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — were in stark contrast to those institutions’ long indulgence of left-wing sensitivities around race and gender.


All three institutions have in recent years punished or censored speech or conduct that drew anger from the left. In 2019, Harvard revoked a deanship held by Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a Black law professor, after students protested his joining the legal team of the former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In 2021, M.I.T. canceled a planned scientific lecture by the star geophysicist Dorian Abbot, pointing to his criticism of affirmative action. The University of Pennsylvania’s law school is seeking to impose sanctions on a tenured professor there, Amy Wax, citing student complaints about her remarks regarding the academic performance of students of color, among other provocations.


The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, which advocates free speech in American society, ranks hundreds of colleges for their protection of students’ rights and open inquiry. Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania sit at the bottom.


“The same administrators now cloaking themselves in the mantle of free speech have been all too willing to censor all kinds of unpopular stuff on their campuses,” said Alex Morey, the foundation’s director of campus rights advocacy. “It is such utter hypocrisy.”


Controversies around antisemitism may fuel further Republican efforts to defund and restrict public universities, particularly where the G.O.P. dominates state legislatures. One leading Republican presidential contender, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, won a following among conservatives with incessant attacks on diversity programs and the teaching of left-wing theories of racism at Florida public universities. All told, more than 20 states this year passed or considered bills restricting diversity, equity and inclusion programs or identity-based hiring practices, according to a tally kept by The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Jay P. Greene, a senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said that antisemitic and anti-Israel protests on campuses — and the university presidents’ lawyerly responses at last week’s hearing — were akin to what he called the “Zoom moment” during the pandemic, when some parents first listened closely to what their children were learning in school and concluded it was “subpar in quality and radical in content.”


“One of those things we’ve struggled with, those of us who want to reform higher education, is convincing people that there’s a problem,” Dr. Greene added. “Historically, they look around and say, ‘Huh, this seems fine.’ Everything they’re seeing right now is that things are not fine.”


If Tuesday’s hearing drove a perfect wedge into the Democratic coalition, that seemed partly by design. The most intensive questioning was led by Representative Elise Stefanik, the moderate-turned-MAGA New York Republican, who in 2021 drew criticism for campaign ads that played with “great replacement”-style themes.


Ms. Stefanik is both a graduate and critic of Harvard: Several years ago, after student complaints, Harvard removed Ms. Stefanik from the board of its Institute of Politics over her repeated false statements about the 2020 election results. She charged her alma mater with “caving to the woke left.” And last week, she exacted a measure of revenge.


Now, House Republicans have begun an investigation into disciplinary procedures and learning at the three institutions, which will unfold over the coming months.


Both Dr. Gay of Harvard and Ms. Magill of Penn have apologized for their answers in the hearing.


“In that moment, I was focused on our university’s longstanding policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable,” Ms. Magill said in a video days before her resignation. “I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It’s evil — plain and simple.”


“I am sorry,” Dr. Gay said in an interview with The Harvard Crimson. “Words matter.”


At M.I.T., the governing board issued a statement endorsing Dr. Kornbluth, saying she had its “full and unreserved support” and had “done excellent work in leading our community, including in addressing antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate.”


Ms. Stefanik, in an interview on Friday with The New York Sun, predicted that all three college presidents would be forced to resign.


“There will be tectonic consequences of this hearing, and it will be an earthquake in higher education,” she said.



3) ‘Buying Quiet’: Inside the Israeli Plan That Propped Up Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gambled that a strong Hamas (but not too strong) would keep the peace and reduce pressure for a Palestinian state.

By Mark Mazzetti and Ronen Bergman, Dec. 10, 2023

Reporting from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Men with rifles ride in the bed of a white pickup truck.
Fighters from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, moving toward the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. Credit...Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Just weeks before Hamas launched the deadly Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, the head of Mossad arrived in Doha, Qatar, for a meeting with Qatari officials.


For years, the Qatari government had been sending millions of dollars a month into the Gaza Strip — money that helped prop up the Hamas government there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel not only tolerated those payments, he had encouraged them.


During his meetings in September with the Qatari officials, according to several people familiar with the secret discussions, the Mossad chief, David Barnea, was asked a question that had not been on the agenda: Did Israel want the payments to continue?


Mr. Netanyahu’s government had recently decided to continue the policy, so Mr. Barnea said yes. The Israeli government still welcomed the money from Doha.


Allowing the payments — billions of dollars over roughly a decade — was a gamble by Mr. Netanyahu that a steady flow of money would maintain peace in Gaza, the eventual launching point of the Oct. 7 attacks, and keep Hamas focused on governing, not fighting.


The Qatari payments, while ostensibly a secret, have been widely known and discussed in the Israeli news media for years. Mr. Netanyahu’s critics disparage them as part of a strategy of “buying quiet,” and the policy is in the middle of a ruthless reassessment following the attacks. Mr. Netanyahu has lashed back at that criticism, calling the suggestion that he tried to empower Hamas “ridiculous.”


In interviews with more than two dozen current and former Israeli, American and Qatari officials, and officials from other Middle Eastern governments, The New York Times unearthed new details about the origins of the policy, the controversies that erupted inside the Israeli government and the lengths that Mr. Netanyahu went to in order to shield the Qataris from criticism and keep the money flowing.


The payments were part of a string of decisions by Israeli political leaders, military officers and intelligence officials — all based on the fundamentally flawed assessment that Hamas was neither interested in nor capable of a large-scale attack. The Times has previously reported on intelligence failures and other faulty assumptions that preceded the attacks.


Even as the Israeli military obtained battle plans for a Hamas invasion and analysts observed significant terrorism exercises just over the border in Gaza, the payments continued. For years, Israeli intelligence officers even escorted a Qatari official into Gaza, where he doled out money from suitcases filled with millions of dollars.


The money from Qatar had humanitarian goals like paying government salaries in Gaza and buying fuel to keep a power plant running. But Israeli intelligence officials now believe that the money had a role in the success of the Oct. 7 attacks, if only because the donations allowed Hamas to divert some of its own budget toward military operations. Separately, Israeli intelligence has long assessed that Qatar uses other channels to secretly fund Hamas’ military wing, an accusation that Qatar’s government has denied.


“Any attempt to cast a shadow of uncertainty about the civilian and humanitarian nature of Qatar’s contributions and their positive impact is baseless,” a Qatari official said in a statement.


Multiple Israeli governments enabled money to go to Gaza for humanitarian reasons, not to strengthen Hamas, an official in Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. He added: “Prime Minister Netanyahu acted to weaken Hamas significantly. He led three powerful military operations against Hamas which killed thousands of terrorists and senior Hamas commanders.”


Hamas has always publicly stated its commitment to eliminating the state of Israel. But each payout was a testament to the Israeli government’s view that Hamas was a low-level nuisance, and even a political asset.


As far back as December 2012, Mr. Netanyahu told the prominent Israeli journalist Dan Margalit that it was important to keep Hamas strong, as a counterweight to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Mr. Margalit, in an interview, said that Mr. Netanyahu told him that having two strong rivals, including Hamas, would lessen pressure on him to negotiate toward a Palestinian state.


The official in the prime minister’s office said Mr. Netanyahu never made this statement. But the prime minister would articulate this idea to others over the years.


While Israeli military and intelligence leaders have acknowledged failings leading up to the Hamas attack, Mr. Netanyahu has refused to address such questions. And with a war waging in Gaza, a political reckoning for the man who has served as prime minister for 13 of the last 15 years, is, for the moment, on hold.


But Mr. Netanyahu’s critics say that his approach to Hamas had, at its core, a cynical political agenda: to keep Gaza quiet as a means of staying in office without addressing the threat of Hamas or simmering Palestinian discontent.


“The conception of Netanyahu over a decade and a half was that if we buy quiet and pretend the problem isn’t there, we can wait it out and it will fade away,” said Eyal Hulata, Israel’s national security adviser from July 2021 until the beginning of this year.


Seeking Equilibrium


Mr. Netanyahu and his security aides slowly began reconsidering their strategy toward the Gaza Strip after several bloody and inconclusive military conflicts there against Hamas.


“Everyone was sick and tired of Gaza,” said Zohar Palti, a former director of intelligence for Mossad. “We all said, ‘Let’s forget about Gaza,’ because we knew it was a deadlock.”


After one of the conflicts, in 2014, Mr. Netanyahu charted a new course — emphasizing a strategy of trying to “contain” Hamas while Israel focused on Iran’s nuclear program and its proxy armies like Hezbollah.


This strategy was buttressed by repeated intelligence assessments that Hamas was neither interested in nor capable of launching a significant attack inside Israel.


Qatar, during this period, became a key financier for reconstruction and government operations in Gaza. One of the world’s wealthiest nations, Qatar has long championed the Palestinian cause and, of all its neighbors, has cultivated the closest ties to Hamas. These relationships have proved valuable in recent weeks as Qatari officials have helped negotiate for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza.


Qatar’s work in Gaza during this period was blessed by the Israeli government. And Mr. Netanyahu even lobbied Washington on Qatar’s behalf. In 2017, as Republicans pushed to impose financial sanctions on Qatar over its support for Hamas, he dispatched senior defense officials to Washington. The Israelis told American lawmakers that Qatar had played a positive role in the Gaza Strip, according to three people familiar with the trip.


Yossi Kuperwasser, a former head of research for Israel’s military intelligence, said that some officials saw the benefits of maintaining an “equilibrium” in the Gaza Strip. “The logic of Israel was that Hamas should be strong enough to rule Gaza,” he said, “but weak enough to be deterred by Israel.”


The administrations of three American presidents — Barack Obama, Donald J. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. — broadly supported having the Qataris playing a direct role in funding Gaza operations.


But not everyone was on board.


Avigdor Lieberman, months after becoming defense minister in 2016, wrote a secret memo to Mr. Netanyahu and the Israeli military chief of staff. He said Hamas was slowly building its military abilities to attack Israel, and he argued that Israel should strike first.


Israel’s goal is “to ensure that the next confrontation between Israel and Hamas will be the final showdown,” he wrote in the memo, dated Dec. 21, 2016, a copy of which was reviewed by The Times. A pre-emptive strike, he said, could remove most of the “leadership of the military wing of Hamas.”


Mr. Netanyahu rejected the plan, preferring containment to confrontation.


Hamas as ‘an Asset’


Among the team of Mossad agents that tracked terrorism financing, some came to believe that — even beyond the money from Qatar — Mr. Netanyahu was not very concerned about stopping money going to Hamas.


Uzi Shaya, for example, made several trips to China to try to shut down what Israeli intelligence had assessed was a money-laundering operation for Hamas run through the Bank of China.


After his retirement, he was called to testify against the Bank of China in an American lawsuit brought by the family of a victim of a Hamas terrorist attack.


At first, the head of Mossad encouraged him to testify, saying it could increase financial pressure on Hamas, Mr. Shaya recalled in a recent interview.


Then, the Chinese offered Mr. Netanyahu a state visit. Suddenly, Mr. Shaya recalled, he got different orders from his former bosses: He was not to testify.


Mr. Netanyahu visited Beijing in May 2013, part of an effort to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between Israel and China. Mr. Shaya said he would have liked to have testified.


“Unfortunately,” he said, “there were other considerations.”


While the reasons for the decision were never confirmed, the change in tack left him suspicious. Especially because politicians at times talked openly about the value of a strong Hamas.


Shlomo Brom, a retired general and former deputy to Israel’s national security adviser, said an empowered Hamas helped Mr. Netanyahu avoid negotiating over a Palestinian state.


“One effective way to prevent a two-state solution is to divide between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” he said in an interview. The division gives Mr. Netanyahu an excuse to disengage from peace talks, Mr. Brom said, adding that he can say, “I have no partner.”


Mr. Netanyahu did not articulate this strategy publicly, but some on the Israeli political right had no such hesitation.


Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right politician who is now Mr. Netanyahu’s finance minister, put it bluntly in 2015, the year he was elected to Parliament.


“The Palestinian Authority is a burden,” he said. “Hamas is an asset.”


Suitcases Full of Cash


During a 2018 cabinet meeting, Mr. Netanyahu’s aides presented a new plan: Every month, the Qatari government would make millions of dollars in cash payments directly to people in Gaza as part of a cease-fire agreement with Hamas.


Shin Bet, the country’s domestic security service, would monitor the list of recipients to try to ensure that members of Hamas’s military wing would not directly benefit.


Despite those assurances, dissent boiled over. Mr. Lieberman saw the plan as a capitulation and resigned in November 2018. He publicly accused Mr. Netanyahu of “buying short-term peace at the price of serious damage to long-term national security.” In the years that followed, Mr. Lieberman would become one of Mr. Netanyahu’s fiercest critics.


During an interview last month in his office, Mr. Lieberman said the decisions in 2018 directly led to the Oct. 7 attacks.


“For Netanyahu, there is only one thing that is really important: to be in power at any cost,” he said. “To stay in power, he preferred to pay for tranquillity.”


Suitcases filled with cash soon began crossing the border into Gaza.


Each month, Israeli security officials met Mohammed al-Emadi, a Qatari diplomat, at the border between Israel and Jordan. From there, they drove him to the Kerem Shalom border crossing and into Gaza.


At first, Mr. Emadi brought with him $15 million to distribute, with $100 handed out at designated locations to each family approved by the Israeli government, according to former Israeli and American officials.


The funds were intended to pay salaries and other expenses, but one senior Western diplomat who was based in Israel until last year said that Western governments had long assessed that Hamas was skimming from the cash disbursements.


“Money is fungible,” said Chip Usher, a senior Middle East analyst at the C.I.A. until his retirement this year. “Anything that Hamas didn’t have to use out of its own budget freed up money for other things.”


Naftali Bennett, who was Israel’s education minister in 2018 when the payments began and later became the defense minister, was among members of Mr. Netanyahu’s government who criticized the payments. He called them “protection money.”


And yet, when Mr. Bennett began his one-year stint as prime minister in June 2021, he continued the policy. By then, Qatar was spending roughly $30 million a month in Gaza.


Mr. Bennett and his aides, though, decided that the cash disbursements were a monthly embarrassment for his government. During meetings with security officials, Mr. Barnea, the Mossad chief, expressed opposition to continuing the payments — certain that some of the money was being diverted to Hamas’s military activities.


For their part, Qatari officials wanted a more stable, reliable way to get money to Gaza for the long-term.


All sides reached a compromise: United Nations agencies would distribute the Qatari money rather than Mr. Emadi. Some of the money went directly to buy fuel for the power plant in Gaza.


Mr. Hulata, the national security adviser to Mr. Bennett, recalls the tension: Israel was blessing these Qatari payments, even as Mossad intelligence assessments concluded that Qatar was using other channels to secretly finance Hamas’s military arm.


It was hard to stop these military payments, he said, when Israel had become so reliant on Qatar.


Yossi Cohen, who managed the Qatari file for many years as the Mossad chief, came to question Israel’s policy toward the Gaza money. During his final year running the spy service, he believed there was little oversight over where the money was going.


In June 2021, Mr. Cohen gave his first public speech after retiring from the spy service. He said that the Qatari money to the Gaza Strip had gotten “out of control.”


Maria Abi-Habib and Justin Scheck contributed reporting from London, and Adam Sella from Tel Aviv.



4) U.N. officials warn that dire conditions in the south risk forcing Gazans into Egypt.

By Ben Hubbard and Vivian Nereim Reporting from Doha, Qatar, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 10, 2023

"'The population has been pushed more and more into tinier and tinier and tinier pieces of land in the Gaza Strip, and there is no way that this piece of land will be able to accommodate such a high number of people,' he said in an interview on Sunday."


Several temporary structures and tents surrounding a mosque.
A tent camp housing displaced Palestinians near a mosque in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Saturday. Credit...Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

U.N. officials warned on Sunday that pressure is mounting near Gaza’s border with Egypt, an area where tens of thousands of Palestinians have tried to flee Israel’s military campaign.


The enclave’s border crossing with Egypt has become even more critical since Israel imposed a complete siege of the Gaza Strip in response to the deadly Oct. 7 attack led by Hamas, serving as the only point where aid has come in and a relatively small number of people have been allowed out since the war began.


Gazans have flocked to the area seeking safety and supplies, with thousands continuing to arrive to heed evacuation orders from Israel’s military that specified parts of Rafah, the region next to the crossing, as a place to go even as it expands its ground operation in the south.


But relief is in short supply. Aid officials have warned of “extreme” overcrowding and a “dire” situation in the border area, while raising alarm about the spread of disease. The deteriorating conditions could push Palestinians over the border into Egypt, two U.N. officials warned on Sunday.


“The health care system is collapsing,” António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, warned on Sunday in Qatar, saying that there was “no effective protection of civilians in Gaza.”


“I expect public order to completely break down soon and an even worse situation could unfold, including epidemic diseases and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt,” he added.


Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which takes care of Palestinian refugees, said that even if there was no “deliberate policy,” Israel’s military operations were “putting more and more pressure for this type of scenario to unfold.”


“The population has been pushed more and more into tinier and tinier and tinier pieces of land in the Gaza Strip, and there is no way that this piece of land will be able to accommodate such a high number of people,” he said in an interview on Sunday.


Gazans who have fled to the area thinking that the south would be safe have found airstrikes there, too.


“We have no other place — and no safe place,” said Ziad Obeid, a senior civil servant for the Palestinian Authority, who said he had come to the outskirts of Rafah with his family after being displaced farther and farther south since the beginning of the war.


“We are fighting day and night just to get some bread, water and some vegetables,” he said, describing a fruitless struggle to find a few eggs for his elderly mother.


The Israeli government has not publicly called for large numbers of Gazans to move to Egypt. But diplomats have said that in private, Israel has pushed for them to be housed there for the duration of the war — augmenting Palestinian fears of a permanent expulsion.


Egypt is adamantly opposed to the idea, partly out of concern that the country — already facing a precarious economic situation — could be destabilized. Egypt and other Arab governments also fear that such a move could give Israel the pretext to carry out a forced displacement of Gazans that could irreparably damage the struggle for Palestinian statehood. Gazans must “stay steadfast and remain on their land,” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt said in October.


In moves that appeared to reflect concerns that the border could be breached, Egypt’s army has erected sand barriers and stationed tanks and other military vehicles along the border at Rafah, according to two people who live near the Egyptian side of the border. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.


In 2008, tens of thousands of Palestinians streamed into northern Egypt after Hamas broke down parts of the border fence — forcing a temporary end to the blockade of Gaza that had followed Hamas’s then-recent takeover of the territory.


Patrick Kingsley and Nada Hussein contributed reporting.



5) The W.H.O. chief calls Gaza’s health care situation ‘catastrophic.’

By Nick Cumming-Bruce reporting from Geneva, Dec. 10, 2023

Several patients on rolling stretchers outside of a hospital building.
Injured Palestinians arriving last month at a hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. Credit...Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

The war in Gaza has been “catastrophic” for health care there, the head of the World Health Organization told an emergency session of the agency’s executive board.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director general, said only 14 of the enclave’s 36 hospitals were even partially able to treat the sick and injured.


“Gaza’s health system is on its knees and collapsing,” he told the board.


The number of hospital beds available has dropped to 1,400 from 3,500, and the two hospitals in providing surgical care in southern Gaza were operating at three times their capacity, Dr. Tedros said.


“The work of the health workers is impossible, and they are directly in the firing line,” he added, citing 449 W.H.O.-verified attacks on health care facilities in Gaza and the West Bank since Oct. 7, as well as 60 in Israel.


Dr. Tedros warned that disease was spreading among the 1.9 million Gazans forced from their homes by the fighting — and would likely get worse given the massive overcrowding of areas where civilians are seeking shelter. At least 20,000 Gazans were in need of acute psychiatric care, he added, and many more were expected to suffer severe trauma from the weeks of conflict.


A United Nations vote demanding a permanent cease-fire in the enclave last week failed because the United States cast the sole vote against it. The board meeting came as Israel pushed ahead with intense ground operations around southern Gaza’s city of Khan Younis over the weekend, with the United Nations reporting continued heavy bombardment from the air, land and sea.


Israel has agreed to allow the delivery of aid through the Kerem Shalom crossing point, which before Oct. 7 was the main conduit for supplies into Gaza with up to 500 trucks a day entering, but operations there have yet to start. The United Nations reported that 100 aid trucks entered Gaza from Egypt on Saturday, but the intense conflict limited distribution of relief supplies to a small area around the southern city of Rafah.


The World Health Organization’s executive board is set to vote later Sunday on a resolution calling for the agency to monitor and report on Gaza’s health crisis and to strengthen technical and material support for Gaza’s health system.


“I must be frank with you,” Dr. Tedros said. “These tasks are almost impossible in the current circumstances.”


Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, noted that the W.H.O. had never before convened a special board meeting to address a particular conflict.


Israel says that Hamas, the armed group that rules Gaza and launched the devastating Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, has concealed bases inside hospitals, and Ms. Shahar on Sunday rebuked the W.H.O. for “turning a blind eye” to Hamas’s abuse of health facilities for military purposes. Even after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, she said, the agency and others in the international community had continued “to give Hamas a free pass.”



6) Is Anti-Zionism Always Antisemitic? A Fraught Question for the Moment.

From the halls of Congress to America’s streets and universities, a once largely academic issue has roiled national discourse, inciting accusations of bigotry and countercharges of bullying.

By Jonathan Weisman, Published Dec. 10, 2023, Updated Dec. 11, 2023

A large group of people, many of them wearing black T-shirts that read, “Jews Say Cease Fire Now” stand crowded together outside. The Manhattan skyline is visible in the background.

Activists with Jewish Voice for Peace called for a cease-fire in Gaza at a rally in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor last month. Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times

The brutal shedding of Jewish blood on Oct. 7, followed by Israel’s relentless military assault on Gaza, has brought a fraught question to the fore in a moment of surging bigotry and domestic political gamesmanship: Is anti-Zionism by definition antisemitism?


The question deeply divided congressional Democrats last week when Republican leaders, seeking to drive a wedge between American Jews and the political party that three-quarters of them call their own, put it to a vote in the House. It has shaken the country’s campuses and reverberated in its city streets, where pro-Palestinian protesters bellow chants calling for Palestine to be free from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.


It surfaced in Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, when Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, said, “If you don’t think Israel has a right to exist, that is antisemitic.” The following night, lighting the national menorah behind the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish, warned, “When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or identity, and when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is antisemitism.”


Zionism as a concept was once clearly understood: the belief that Jews, who have endured persecution for millenniums, needed refuge and self-determination in the land of their ancestors. The word still evokes joyful pride among many Jews in the state of Israel, which was established 75 years ago and repeatedly defended itself against attacks from Arab neighbors that aimed to annihilate it.


If anti-Zionism a century ago meant opposing the international effort to set up a Jewish state in what was then a British-controlled territory called Palestine, it now suggests the elimination of Israel as the sovereign homeland of the Jews. That, many Jews in Israel and the diaspora say, is indistinguishable from hatred of Jews generally, or antisemitism.


Yet some critics of Israel say they equate Zionism with a continuing project of expanding the Jewish state. That effort animates an Israeli government bent on settling ever more parts of the West Bank that some Israelis, as well as the United States and other Western powers, had proposed as a separate state for the Palestinian people. Expanding those settlements, to Israel’s critics, conjures images of “settler colonialists” and apartheid-style oppressors.


So for some Jews, the answer to the question is obvious. Of course anti-Zionism is antisemitism, they say: Around half the world’s Jews live in Israel, and destroying it, or ending its status as a refuge where they are assured of governing themselves, would imperil a people who have faced annihilation time and again.


“There is no debate,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, which has been defining and monitoring antisemitism since 1913. “Anti-Zionism is predicated on one concept, the denial of rights to one people.”


Many Palestinians and their allies recoil just as fiercely: The equating of opposition to a Jewish state on once-Arab land — or opposition to its expansion — with bigotry is to silence their national aspirations, muffle political dissent and denigrate 75 years of their suffering.


Laila el-Haddad, a Palestinian activist and author, called it “a chilling attempt to punish and silence voices critical of Israeli policies.”


But perhaps nowhere is the question more fraught than among Jews themselves. Younger, left-leaning Jews, steeped in the cause of antiracism and terms like “settler colonialism,” are increasingly searching for a Jewish identity centered more on religious values like the pursuit of justice and repairing the world than on collective nationalism tied to the land of Israel.


Many older liberal Jews have also struggled with the Israeli government’s lurch to the far right, but they see Israel as the centerpiece and guarantor of continued Jewish existence in an ever more secular world.


“We’re living in an increasingly post-religious age, and any Jewish community that walks away from the Jewish people, and its most articulate expression of our times — the Jewish state, the state of Israel — is walking away from their own future,” said Ammiel Hirsch, the senior rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan and the founder of Amplify Israel, which seeks to emphasize the Jewish state in Jewish worship.


For Republicans, the issue is simple and convenient. The raising of anti-Zionism in the debate over antisemitism amid the Israel-Hamas war pushes aside the presence of white-nationalist bigots on the fringes of the Republican coalition — like Nick Fuentes, the avowed neo-Nazi who dined with Kanye West and former President Donald J. Trump last year — and instead forces Democrats to defend the pro-Hamas demonstrators on their own coalition’s fringes.


So on Tuesday, when G.O.P. leaders led by Representative David Kustoff of Tennessee, one of the House’s two Jewish Republicans, put to a vote a resolution condemning all forms of antisemitism and flatly stated “that anti-Zionism is antisemitism,” the 216 Republicans who voted yes included two who have been accused of antisemitism and white-nationalist flirtations, Representatives Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. (The one Republican who voted no, Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, has now been labeled antisemitic by the White House.)


For the broader Democratic community, by contrast, the debate has been wrenching, pitting allies against one another, splintering more conservative Jewish Democrats who absolutely believe anti-Zionism is antisemitic from progressive Democrats, especially Democrats of color, who argue just as strongly for the latitude to criticize Israel, and leaving a huge middle unwilling to draw bright lines.


Thirteen Democrats voted no, including Israel’s fiercest critics in Congress, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Ninety-five voted yes, but 92 Democrats voted “present,” among them prominent Jews like Jerrold Nadler of New York, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.


“Folks, this isn’t complicated: MOST antizionism — the type that calls for Israel’s destruction, denying its right to exist — is antisemitic. This type is used to cloak hatred of Jews,” Mr. Nadler wrote on social media after the vote. “Some antizionism isn’t that. Thus, it’s simply inaccurate to call ALL antizionism antisemitic.”


In fact, it is complicated. Jonathan Jacoby, the director of the Nexus Task Force, a group of academics and Jewish activists affiliated with the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, said the group had wrestled with the issue for several years now, seeking a definition of antisemitism that captures when anti-Zionism crosses from political belief to bigotry. He warned that shouting down any political action directed against Israel as antisemitic made it harder for Jews to call out actual antisemitism, while stifling honest conversation about Israel’s government and U.S. policy toward it.


The definition of antisemitism as drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and embraced by the Trump White House includes phrases that critics say squelch political — not hate — speech:


Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, such as by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.


Applying double standards by requiring of Israel behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.


Comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.


The Nexus definition agrees that holding Jews around the world responsible for Israeli government actions, as pro-Palestinian protesters did last week outside an Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia, is Jew hatred. It also holds that it is antisemitic to reject the right of Jews alone to define themselves as a people and exercise self-determination, as some on the left do in arguing that Jews are a religion, not a nation.


But Nexus pushes back sharply on some aspects of the I.H.R.A. definition, stating, “Paying disproportionate attention to Israel and treating Israel differently than other countries is not prima facie proof of antisemitism” and “Opposition to Zionism and/or Israel does not necessarily reflect specific anti-Jewish animus.”


Yehuda Kurtzer, the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a Jewish research organization, said that Judaism had always contained elements of religion and nationhood, and that Jewish identity had toggled between the two over the millenniums. It is unsurprising that the two strains can seem baffling, he said.


Since the rise of violent white supremacy that accompanied the political movement of Mr. Trump, Jewish intellectuals have viewed right-wing antisemitism “as dangerous to Jewish bodies,” Mr. Kurtzer continued. The 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre that took 11 Jewish lives was perpetrated by an adherent to the “great replacement” theory, a conspiratorial fiction designed to create race hatred by holding that Jews are importing Black and brown people to supplant white Americans.


Amid such carnage, left-wing antisemitism, driven by opponents of the Jewish state, was seen as more academic, a threat to Jewish identity, but not to Jewish safety, he said.


But Mr. Kurtzer said those distinctions disappeared with the massacre of some 1,200 Jewish Israelis in October — because Hamas’s actions were the end result of denying Israel’s right to exist. “Oct. 7 should have the effect of saying absolute hatred of Judaism for our national claims is violent and legitimizes violence,” he said.


In other words, virulent anti-Zionism and virulent antisemitism ultimately intersect, at a very bad address for the Jews.


Still, Democrats worry that the debate is blurring the line between political speech and hate speech. Tibetans pressing for freedom from the Chinese are considered unserious or even repugnant in Beijing, just as Native American activists demanding to reclaim parts of the United States might be to the owners of that land. But are they bigoted?


Ms. Omar said the Republican resolution that she opposed “conflates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism” and “paints critics of the Israeli government as antisemites.”


To the young Jewish activists of left-wing groups like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, which have themselves been accused of antisemitism, the search for a Jewish identity unrooted in the land has not been complicated. Jews, after all, survived without a state for nearly 2,000 years after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem and scattered the inhabitants of the Holy Land to the four corners of the earth.


Eva Borgwardt, the 27-year-old political director of IfNotNow, said she graduated high school wanting to be a rabbi. Now she speaks of a renaissance of Jewish identity in the United States, a “diasporic” chicken farm, queer Talmudic studies and a Judaism based on good works — including the securing of equal rights and protections for Palestinians.


“For Jews questioning Zionism, the issue is protecting the rights of a minority from a state determined to eliminate them,” she said. “What could be more Jewish than that?”


Mr. Greenblatt, of the Anti-Defamation League, reacted angrily to that argument.


“Please don’t tell me my grandfather, whose entire family was incinerated in Auschwitz, wanted to go back to the diaspora,” he said.


To which younger, leftier Jews might respond by asking what it even means to suggest that American politics should be focused on securing a safe haven for Jews abroad when the First Amendment ensures that the United States is such a safe haven.


In all of this, a generational divide is palpable. Older Jews lived through the trials and triumphs of the early Jewish state. Middle-aged Jews remember the hope of a peace that recognized the legitimate aspirations of the Jewish and Palestinian people, embodied in the Oslo accords of the 1990s, and a diplomatic process that was pursued vigorously until the early years of the 21st century.


The young Jews joining pro-Palestinian demonstrators in the last two months know only an Israel they see as powerful, violent against Palestinians and ruled by leaders far to their right.


“I was born after the Oslo accords had fallen apart,” Ms. Borgwardt said. “I’ve never known any kind of actual hope for a Zionism that does not demand occupation, apartheid and the oppression of Palestinians to fulfill the identity of the Jewish state.”


The prevalence of that view has prominent Jews and mainline rabbis extremely worried. Labeling Jews who question the centrality of Zionism antisemitic will do nothing to keep them from abandoning Judaism altogether, said Ms. Schakowsky, a veteran congresswoman.


“I think there is a contempt for active, engaged American Jews who think it’s not just about Israel existing,” she said, “but Israel existing in a context that does include the Palestinians.”



7) Record Rent Burdens Batter Low-Income Life

More tenants than ever spend half or more of their income for shelter, leaving less for everything else, taking an emotional toll and leaving some without a place to call their own.

By Jason DeParle, Dec. 11, 2023

Jason DeParle, who has covered poverty for three decades, reported from the Charleston, S.C., area, where he spent weeks observing how the lives of families were affected by their difficulties in making rent payments.


Latoyia Cruz-Rivas leans on the top of her car while her son and dog sit inside.

Latoyia Cruz-Rivas and her son, Jevon, spent months living in a car with their dog. Credit...Elizabeth Bick for The New York Times

To understand how rising rents punish families of modest means, look no further than the queen-size bed that Jessica Jones and her three children share in her mother’s living room, where each night brings a squirming, turning tussle for space in a house with no privacy.


Ms. Jones and her daughter Katelen, 14, anchor the sides like human bed rails, with two younger girls tucked in between. Joy is a 4-year-old featherweight, but Destaney, at 6, kicks so much that Ms. Jones binds her in a mermaid blanket. The day’s tensions lie beside them, and midnight sneezes are shared events.


After two years of doubling up, Ms. Jones longs for a place of her own. But even though she works full time for the state government, a modest apartment would consume more than half her income, a burden most landlords find disqualifying and one she could not sustain.


With $41,000 a year in earnings and child support, she is, by government definition, not poor — just homeless.


“My anxiety is through the roof,” she said. “I feel almost hopeless.”


Unaffordable rents are changing low-income life, blighting the prospects of not only the poor but also growing shares of the lower middle class after decades in which rent increases have outpaced income growth.


Nearly two-thirds of households in the bottom 20 percent of incomes face “severe cost burdens,” meaning they pay more than half of their income for rent and utilities, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.


Among working-class renters — the 20 percent of people in the next level up the income scale — the share with severe burdens has nearly tripled in two decades to 17 percent.


For both groups, the proportion with severe cost burdens has reached record highs.


“More people, higher up the ladder, are facing impossible trade-offs,” said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a researcher at the Harvard Center.


The federal government deems shelter affordable if it takes 30 percent or less of household income, a goal that only about half of the nation’s 44 million renter households meet.


In consuming half or more of a family’s income, severe rent burdens steal from essential needs like food and medicine. They destroy the ability to save. They force frequent, destabilizing moves, unsettling parents at work and children in school. They flood fragile households with stress.


“Housing insecurity ripples through every domain of family life,” said Stefanie DeLuca, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. “It’s this constant mental and emotional tax.”


The growing burdens coincide with the declining reach of federal housing aid. Since 2004, the number of households served by the main programs for the poorest renters — public housing, Section 8 and Housing Choice Vouchers — has fallen by 6 percent, the Harvard analysis found, while the number eligible has soared.


Ms. Jones, who moved in with her mother after her landlord did not renew the lease on a subsidized apartment, said the displacement had wreaked family havoc. Her mother complains that rambunctious children fill the house with noise. Katelen’s moods darkened and her grades dived. Sleepless and anxious, Ms. Jones took a medical leave, then passed out and suffered a concussion.


“I felt like I was going to die, I was so stressed out,” she said.


Similar stories abound in Charleston, which illustrates the forces that have raised housing costs nationwide. The problem is not that poverty has grown but that prosperity has spread in unequal fashion, bidding up rents and leaving behind families of modest means as federal aid declined. Jacqueline Drayton, a longtime Verizon worker, skipped meals to rent a suburban house that exhausted more than 60 percent of her income, then got laid off. Latoyia Cruz-Rivas thought she could handle an apartment that consumed more than half her income as a school bus driver. After an eviction proved her wrong, she lived in her car with her son and their dog.


As the Joneses’ crisis stretches into its third year, Katelen’s singing has become a source of daily conflict. As a performer at church and an arts charter school, she considers singing her greatest joy, but her grandmother calls it noise. As doors slam and tempers flare, the housing crisis spills into the driveway, where her big voice fills a parked car and she forgets how long her family has waited for shelter it can afford.


“I feel so stuck,” she said. “But singing helps me feel free.”


No Buffer


People who spend half their income for shelter have no room for error. A few canceled work shifts or an unexpected car repair can leave them short. That poses special peril in South Carolina, where landlords can evict any tenant who pays even a single month’s rent more than five days late.


Ms. Cruz-Rivas discovered the risk.


A school bus driver from Greensboro, N.C., Ms. Cruz-Rivas, 42, moved to Charleston during the coronavirus pandemic, drawn by significantly higher wages and a desire to distance her teenage sons, Jevon and Amon, from troublemaking friends. She did not realize that rents were higher, too. With utilities, her apartment took more than half of her income, but, she said, “I figured, ‘I’ll make it work.’”


For a while she did, if barely. But her hours shrank as more drivers returned to work after the pandemic, and Jevon’s job at Pizza Hut did not fill the gap. Federal pandemic aid staved off one eviction threat. Then came the kind of cascading misfortune that can put tenants on the street.


Her sons totaled her car. The state suspended her commercial driver’s license. In the weeks it took to reinstate it, she lacked an income, and her landlord moved to evict her.


Amon moved in with his girlfriend. A school social worker who serves homeless families, Sonya Jones, arranged motel stays and a donated car. When the motel money ran out, Ms. Cruz-Rivas and Jevon began living in the car with their dog, Koffi.


Ms. Cruz-Rivas, who takes pride in her lack of self-pity, faced the ordeal with odd cheerfulness. “There’s people in worse situations than us,” she said. They slept in a parking lot and used the restroom at the all-night convenience store where Jevon found a job.


Having survived childhood sexual abuse, she added, “I can train my mind to accept anything.”


Reclining in the car one night this fall, Ms. Cruz-Rivas scrolled through social media while Jevon watched football on his phone with Koffi at his feet.


“We just lay back and chill,” Ms. Cruz-Rivas said.


“We talk, laugh, joke,” Jevon said.


Their matching tattoos read “family first.” It would have made a homey scene if home wasn’t an old Toyota.


Ms. Cruz-Rivas switched jobs to a limousine service, where her clientele of businesswomen and bachelorettes had no idea their upbeat driver slept in her car.


An eviction record makes Ms. Cruz-Rivas a pariah in the rental market, but Jevon, now 20, joined a waiting list for subsidized housing. After months of homelessness, he landed an apartment where they can sleep without hitting the steering wheel.


‘Rent Has an Effect on Your Mental Health’


Thirty miles from the parking lot where Ms. Cruz-Rivas slept, Jacqueline Drayton has a four-bedroom house in suburban Summerville, where traffic stops for geese crossings and residents car-pool in golf carts.


But she grapples with the same affordability crisis. With shelter costs consuming most of her income, Ms. Drayton, the former Verizon worker, said the burden depresses everything from her food budget to her psychological health.


“It’s nerve-racking,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”


The shortage of affordable housing may seem perennial, but the problem has changed. In 1960, shelter took 28 percent of the average renter’s income (though some was so bad it lacked indoor plumbing). Now it takes 41 percent of income — and for poor renters, 75 percent.


Ms. Drayton’s father, James Earl Drayton, was one of nine firefighters honored as heroes after their deaths in a 2007 fire. But she notes that he gave his life for a city with little housing she can afford.


Concerned about violence, Ms. Drayton left the city eight years ago when she was married and two incomes covered suburban rent. Divorce changed the math. With earnings of about $42,000 and little child support, she moved with four children to a house that consumed roughly two-thirds of her income.


Suddenly everything revolved around rent. She skipped meals to pay it. She used tax refunds to pay it in advance. She felt anxious before she paid the rent and depleted afterward. Her post-divorce depression deepened.


“Rent definitely took over everything,” she said. “Rent has an effect on your mental health.”


Needing back surgery this year, Ms. Drayton scheduled an unpaid leave around her tax refund, but recovery took longer than planned. She deferred other bills, borrowed from her sister and tapped retirement funds, but still fell behind.


Among the forces that may be raising rents nationwide is the emergence of large corporate landlords. Ms. Drayton rented from AMH, a public company with 60,000 homes that asked a court to put her out. Most tenants in housing court lack attorneys, but a pro bono lawyer negotiated a deal to let her move without an eviction on her record. Yet her next rental was even more expensive and owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity giant, through its property company, FirstKey Homes.


After 18 years at Verizon, she was laid off amid the move, with seven months of severance pay.


Ms. Drayton’s daughter, a high school freshman, wanted to join cheerleading this fall, but the $650 fee ended the conversation. It was not a close call.


“To be honest, I go without food sometimes — just having milk and cereal,” Ms. Drayton said. “Sometimes I couldn’t even get that.”


A Consequence of Poverty, and a Cause


As a midsize city in a low-cost state, Charleston may not seem like a place with impossible housing math. But it has long drawn new residents with big housing budgets attracted to its beaches, history and food, and a surge of manufacturing jobs has swelled their ranks.


Higher housing prices at the top mean higher prices below as land values rise and gentrification quickens. Mount Pleasant, an affluent suburb, compounded the shortage of affordable shelter by banning new apartments.


“Charleston County has become a victim of its own success,” the county’s housing plan warns.


Even after adjusting for inflation, the cost of a basic two-bedroom apartment rose by a third over the past decade, according to federal estimates called fair-market rents, taking $4,600 a year from tenants of modest means.


Civic pride suffered a blow in 2018 when Princeton researchers found the city of North Charleston had the country’s highest eviction rate, a product of high rents and weak tenant-protection laws.


“Most of them are working, but it just takes one unfortunate event — ‘I was sick’ or ‘my car broke down,’” said Taylor Rumble, a lawyer with Charleston Legal Access, a nonprofit law firm that expanded its tenant work. “It’s heartbreaking, but ‘heartbreaking’ isn’t a legal defense.”


The county set aside $20 million in federal stimulus funds for affordable housing. But that is only 4 percent of the investment the plan said is needed.


Budget-busting rents are not just an urban problem. Three-quarters of Charleston’s low-income households (those in the bottom fifth) pay more than half their income for shelter. But the same holds true in tiny Bladen County, N.C. (population 29,000), where low rent is offset by low pay. The share of low-income households with severe rent burdens ranges from 73 percent in big cities to 50 percent in rural areas.


Standard measures, used by the government and scholars, modestly overstate the problem because the Census Bureau’s definition of income omits some forms of aid, including food stamps and tax credits. At the request of The New York Times, Danielle Wilson and Christopher Wimer of Columbia University and Ms. Airgood-Obrycki of Harvard re-estimated rent burdens counting that aid.


For 2019, that lowered the share of households in the bottom quintile who are paying half or more of their income for shelter to 52 percent, from 60 percent. “You still have more than half the low-income population with severe burdens,” Ms. Wilson said.


Housing burdens are a consequence of poverty but also a cause. Research has shown that high rent burdens can harm cognitive development, increase delinquent behavior and reduce spending on health care and food, while evictions worsen mental and physical health and force families into worse neighborhoods.


Hope Harvey, a University of Kentucky sociologist, emphasized how much “cognitive bandwidth” housing instability consumes. “It permeates every aspect of family life,” she said. “There’s little left for anything else.”


‘A House for the Family’


It certainly permeates the life of Ms. Jones, the state worker who shares a bed with three children in her mother’s packed home. She finds it impossible to honor her mother’s demands for quiet without leaving her children feeling caged.


“It’s like walking on eggshells,” she said. “I feel like I’ve failed my kids.”


A former beautician, Ms. Jones has spent four years doing community outreach for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC. “I love, love, love my job,” she said.


But even with child support and occasional hairdressing jobs, her $41,000 income offers few options to house a family of four in Charleston.


A four-bedroom home, at fair-market rents, would deplete 70 percent of her income. Three bedrooms would take 56 percent and two bedrooms 45 percent. She does not think she can pay even the least of those sums, and her low credit score decreases the odds a landlord would take the chance.


Ms. Jones reached an emotional breaking point last year after she and the children caught Covid and Destaney was hospitalized. Ms. Jones took a medical leave, developed migraines and got a concussion from passing out. She is taking medication for anxiety, which she blames on the overcrowding.


“I’ve not been able to sleep — at all,” she said.


Mature beyond her 14 years, Katelen, the singer, is a co-parent of sorts, a patient caretaker of her younger siblings. But she is also an adolescent who lost her privacy at an age when it is especially prized. And the fights with her grandmother over her singing leave her both furious and tinged with self-reproach.


“I’m trying not to lash out at her because I know it’s disrespectful,” she said.


On a recent evening she escaped to the car and conjured a song of longing from “The Little Mermaid,” then switched to a gospel romp about the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.


I feel your Spirit


All over me


It’s in my hands, in my soul, down in my feet


From the back seat, Destaney supplied hand claps, backup vocals and nodding affirmation that she felt the Spirit, too. Then she fished a drawing from her first-grade backpack. It captured on paper what had eluded her in life: a house with four people and four beds.


“A house for the family,” she said.


Kitty Bennett contributed research.



8) Minneapolis Man Is Freed After Serving 19 Years on Murder Charge

Marvin Haynes has long maintained he was wrongfully convicted in a 2004 homicide. Prosecutors recently concluded he was right.

By Ernesto Londoño, Dec. 11, 2023, Reporting from St. Paul.

Marvin Haynes seated wearing an orange prison suit.
Marvin Haynes, who was sentenced in 2005 to life in prison, maintained that he was wrongfully convicted after a deeply flawed investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department. Credit...KMSP-TV/FOX 9

Moments after a Minneapolis jury found Marvin Haynes guilty of the May 2004 killing of a flower shop clerk, he cried out in protest.


“I didn’t kill that man!” Mr. Haynes, who was a teenager at the time, yelled as he faced the jury. “They’re all going to burn in hell for that.”


Mr. Haynes, who was sentenced in 2005 to life in prison, has maintained that he was wrongfully convicted after a deeply flawed investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department.


His lawyers have argued that detectives threatened witnesses to pressure them to implicate Mr. Haynes in the killing, overlooked exculpatory evidence and acted improperly when they showed the sole witness an array of suspects.


On Monday, the prosecutor’s office that tried Mr. Haynes did something unusual: It asked a judge to toss out his conviction after concluding that Mr. Haynes did not receive a fair trial and the killer most likely remained at large.


“There was a terrible injustice done in this case,” Mary Moriarty, the Hennepin County attorney, said in an interview. “We can’t give Mr. Haynes back these past 19 years in prison, but we can do our best to make it right for him today.”


On Monday morning, prosecutors and Mr. Haynes’s defense lawyers jointly submitted a petition asking William H. Koch, a Hennepin County district judge, to vacate the conviction. Judge Koch agreed, setting Mr. Haynes free.


The New York Times obtained a copy of the court filing before a news conference to announce the decision, which is scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon.


Mr. Haynes, 36, was set free days before he was set to appear in court as part of a bid to secure a new trial based on new information about the police investigation.


“I always knew I was going to find a way to get justice,” Mr. Haynes said in a phone interview from prison early Monday shortly before being released. “I knew God was going to lead me through this.”


Mr. Haynes’s release comes as the Minneapolis Police Department is embarking on an era of sweeping court-enforced changes after a pair of damning reports by state civil rights investigators and by the Justice Department.


The investigations began after the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. They found that the Police Department unlawfully discriminated against Black people for years and committed a torrent of abuses that went unpunished because of systemic deficiencies in training and accountability.


When Mr. Haynes, who is Black, was tried, the top prosecutor in Hennepin County was Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, who is now the state’s senior senator. In early 2020, when she was running for president, Ms. Klobuchar faced questions about another flawed homicide investigation from that era after a report by The Associated Press. The defendant in that case, Myon Burrell, was released in December 2020 after the Minnesota Board of Pardons commuted his life sentence.


Ms. Moriarty said prosecutors seldom vacated a murder conviction while a judge was considering a petition for a new trial. But after a thorough review of the police investigation, the trial transcript and new evidence, Ms. Moriarty, a former public defender, said she concluded that setting Mr. Haynes free was the right thing to do.


Mr. Haynes was charged with murder soon after a gunman walked into Jerry’s Flower Shop in Minneapolis on May 16, 2004, and demanded cash from the two employees inside, siblings Randy Sherer and Cynthia McDermid. The gunman killed Mr. Sherer, 55, as Ms. McDermid fled the store.


Ms. McDermid told police the gunman was a Black male with cropped hair who appeared to be between 19 and 22 years old and weighed around 180 pounds. At the time, Mr. Haynes was 16, had a long Afro and weighed around 130 pounds.


After detectives showed Ms. McDermid a photo lineup of suspects that excluded Mr. Haynes, she selected one and said she was 75 to 80 percent certain he was the killer. The man in the photo, however, had a solid alibi.


After being shown a second photo lineup, she identified Mr. Haynes as the suspect. But there was a major problem: The photo of Mr. Haynes the police provided was two years old and showed him with cropped hair.


The police presented no physical evidence linking Mr. Haynes to the crime.


The case against Mr. Haynes was bolstered by two other witnesses. One was Ravi Seeley, a 14-year-old who told detectives he was near the flower shop when he heard gunshots and saw someone fleeing the scene. The teenager identified Mr. Haynes in a lineup of suspects.


The second witness was Isiah Harper, a cousin of Mr. Haynes, who was 14 at the time. The cousin told detectives he heard Mr. Haynes bragging about having committed a robbery the morning of the killing.


In 2022, the lawyers with the Great North Innocence Project, which represents people who assert they were wrongfully convicted, obtained affidavits from Mr. Seeley and Mr. Harper that called into question the integrity of the police investigation.


Mr. Seeley said in a sworn affidavit that he had not gotten a clear view of the person fleeing the flower shop and that “police officers pressured me into making potentially inaccurate identifications and telling the officers what I believed they wanted to hear.”


Mr. Harper’s sworn declaration said that he initially told detectives he knew nothing about the killing. But Mr. Harper said he later implicated his cousin after the police “threatened me with criminal charges if I did not cooperate.”


During the trial, Mr. Harper said he tried to recant the accusation on the witness stand, but relented after prosecutors warned he could go to prison. “It was all lies that I believed I had to give the police to avoid going to prison myself,” he wrote in the 2022 affidavit.


Ms. Moriarty said that detectives violated their policy on suspect lineups by showing witnesses a photo of Mr. Haynes that did not reflect what he looked like when the crime occurred. While suspect lineups are supposed to be handled by officers who are not directly involved in the investigation to ensure impartiality, detectives involved in the case conducted some of the lineups, making them “unnecessarily suggestive,” according to the court filing.


Marvina Haynes, one of Mr. Haynes’s sisters, spent years fighting for his freedom. The effort to overturn the conviction wiped out the family’s savings and has been a source of torment for nearly two decades, she said in an interview.


“These types of things don’t only affect a family, they affect a community,” she said. “When a person is wrongfully convicted, it means a killer is still on the loose.”