Some highlights of my weekly reading.

Most Palestinians Don’t Want Hamas Rule, Poll Shows

by Matthew Petti, Reason, June 13, 2024.


The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) released its latest poll data from the West Bank and Gaza on Wednesday. It turns out that Palestinians are unhappy with all of the current options—including the Biden administration’s plan for international governance of Gaza.

The last Palestinian election was held in 2006. Although no party won a majority, Hamas had the largest bloc in parliament, with 44 percent of the votes. The Bush administration encouraged Palestinian security officers to launch a coup d’etat against Hamas, which led to a Palestinian civil war. Since then, Hamas has ruled Gaza and Fatah has ruled the West Bank, both as one-party states.

If parliamentary elections were held today, most Palestinians wouldn’t vote for either option. Hamas would get 32 percent of the vote, Fatah would get 17 percent of the vote, and a full 50 percent would either sit out of the election or vote for a third party. The survey showed similarly abysmal turnout rates in a presidential election—with one twist.

If the former guerrilla leader Marwan Barghouti were allowed to run, he would handily defeat both the Hamas and Fatah candidates. Barghouti has been imprisoned by Israel since 2002 for his role in several attacks on Israelis, which he denies ordering. Since then, he has said that he accepts the pre-1967 borders of Israel and called for “peaceful popular resistance.”


That said, when PCPSR asked Palestinians what the best path to independence was, 54 percent said “armed struggle,” as opposed to 16 percent who supported peaceful resistance and 25 percent who supported negotiations. It was a drop from December 2023, when 63 percent chose armed struggle.


Documenting Communism (Part I)

by Charles Palm, Defining Ideas, June 12, 2024.

So many excerpts that it’s hard to choose. Read the whole thing.

Documenting Communism (Part II)

by Charles Palm, Defining Ideas, June 12, 2024.


Eighteen million people, out of a population of a hundred million adults, in those fifty or so years, passed through the Gulag, and millions perished. It was a pervasive part of Soviet life, and seeing how it was managed would provide insights into how Soviet communism itself worked. We got the full range of documentation: secret police records, policy memoranda and minutes of meetings, laws, decrees, judicial rulings, regulations on camp administration and operations, lists of prisoners, budgets, reports of the vast industrial enterprises operated by the Gulag administration, data of hunger strikes and mass rebellions, and documents on camp culture, education and health. We got records documenting every aspect of the Gulag: three million pages.


The Tragedy and Triumph of The Killing Fields

by Bradley J. Birzer, Law & Liberty, June 14, 2024.

As far as we know (and historians are still trying to document these things), there was no more intense genocide in the twentieth century than that committed by the Khmer Rouge. Though reported numbers vary, the Khmer Rouge murdered anywhere from 25% to 47% of the seven million-strong Cambodian population in the three years it ruled. As the Khmer Rouge openly stated: “All we need to build our country is a million good revolutionaries. No more than that. And we would rather kill ten friends than allow one enemy to live.”

The U.S. Cricket Team’s Guide to Winning at Everything

by Robert Tracinski, Discourse, June 14, 2024.

The joke that immediately made the rounds after the surprise U.S. win in Dallas is that Pakistan didn’t lose to “India-B” (one of the Indian national cricket teams), they lost to “India H-1B.” India vs. Pakistan is the most intense rivalry in cricket, fueled by the geopolitical rivalry between the two countries. It’s a bit like the Yankees vs. the Red Sox, but with nuclear weapons. The U.S. cricket team is dominated by Indian immigrants who are here on H-1B visas, awarded to skilled workers, particularly in the tech industry.