Israel tells one million people to flee Gaza: Overnight, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned the more than a million residents of Gaza to flee the entirety of the north. Two major refugee camps and all of Gaza City are included in the zone that the IDF plans to attack in retribution for the 1,300 Israelis who have been killed by Hamas' October 7 invasion and the fighting that has followed in the days since.
Hamas has "dismissed [Israel's warning] as a ploy and called on people to stay in their homes," per the Associated Press. Some are staying put, but others are joining the roughly 400,000 who have already fled their homes. "We cannot evacuate hospitals and leave the wounded and sick to die," Gazan Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told the A.P.
The United Nations agency that's ministering to refugees in the north says that it will not evacuate the schools where displaced Palestinians are staying.
In Gaza, people are desperate: More than 1,500 have been killed and the country's main power plant has run out of fuel. Generators that power the main hospital, Al-Shifa, only have a few days' worth of fuel left before they go dark. The road out of the north is jammed, and many people do not have functioning cars, let alone fuel.
"Israel said it needed to target Hamas' military infrastructure, much of which is buried deep underground," per the A.P. An IDF spokesman says residents will be permitted to return once the war is over, but it's not clear what will be left if the Israeli military successfully carries out its plans.
U.S. inflation update: "The Federal Reserve's higher interest rates were supposed to trigger changes to fiscal policy," writes Reason's Eric Boehm. "So far, that hasn't happened."
Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new inflation data, which shows prices up 3.7 percent over the last year but "core inflation" (which exempts food and gas) at 4.1 percent. Rents and hotel costs, meanwhile, are up 7.2 percent, reports Boehm. (Paul Krugman, of course, claims we "won" the war on inflation at "very little cost," which is patently absurd.)
For 11 consecutive meetings, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates (before halting in July, keeping the base rate at 5.5 percent). Inflation has cooled as a result, but "the federal government's $33 trillion national debt and rising budget deficits are creating inflationary pressure in ways that remain underappreciated," argues Boehm. "The big problem is that, while higher interest rates are helping curb inflation, they are worsening the federal government's deficit."
Macroaggressions: "We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence," read one representative statement from Harvard student groups. Similar ones were issued at Stanford, Columbia, George Washington, and elsewhere. At Yale, religious studies professor Zareena Grewal tweeted: "Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard" and that Israel is a "murderous, genocidal settler state." It hasn't all been paraglider poster art and simplistic decolonizer narratives (all free speech that I personally find vile, but important to permit), though: At Columbia, an Israeli student was reportedly assaulted by another student.
Since roughly 2013—the start of the modern-day campus social justice movement—college administrators have been offering safe spaces replete with coloring books, bubbles, and Play-Doh for students who might find their emotional health threatened by hearing words they disagree with from on-campus speakers (if even platformed at all). They've been providing guidance on which Halloween costumes might hurt feelings or lean too far into stereotypes (at, for example, Yale, where Grewal teaches). Students have been routinely sorted into affinity groups and privilege hierarchies, in what looked (to the uninitiated) like a benign effort to help them understand how other people's plights differ from their own.
To some of us, these practices seemed hollow, infantilizing, or downright wrong from the start. But for many others, this moment we're in now has smashed whatever vestigial support for campus wokeness remained. Turns out, when people reveal themselves to be Hamas apologists, it is hard to take seriously their requests for microaggression sensitivity.
Scenes from New York:
In my opinion, it's times like these when in-person worship is most essential. The post-COVID pivot-to-Zoom when under threats of violence or contagion feels soul-corroding.
This is NEW YORK
"New York State officials are starting to suggest synagogues consider closing Friday out of an abundance of caution and making Erev Shabbat services virtual." https://t.co/FxEg6hIiBd
— Jacob N. Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) October 12, 2023
- In France, pro-Palestine protests and rallies were banned. Authorities say this is because they need to protect "public order," but cracking down on speech in this manner is a flagrant civil liberties violation.
- Yesterday, Zach Weissmueller and I interviewed terrorism expert Max Abrahms on the situation in Israel and Gaza. Watch it here.
- "At every stop since Saturday's massacres, Americans and Israelis have compared Hamas to the radical Islamists of ISIS," writes Reason's Matt Welch. "Therein lies cause for even more sobriety when it comes to hostages."
- Rep. Steve Scalise (R–La.) drops out of House speaker race.
- It is not clear to me why an "Ebony Alert" is needed in order to alert Californians to missing black women and children. Do Amber Alerts not work?
- Israel eases gun restrictions, and tells its citizens to arm themselves.
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.