Daily Briefing: Wednesday News of the Week in Review (October 30, 2019)


Ambassador Nikki Haley visit June 2017
U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley meets Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, June 7, 2017.(Source:Flickr)

           WEEKLY QUOTES

“The juvenile and reckless policies of the amateur Trudeau government — a government of butterflies in its early yoga and selfies days — has brought the country to a terrible pass, where the only elements that really count in a nation — its cohesion, its sense of common endeavour, of all its parts and regions acting on the great issues in concert, as one — these elements are shattered.” – Political analyst Rex Murphy writes following Canada’s Liberal Party re-election on Mon. Oct. 21st, albeit as a minority government.  (National Post, Oct. 23, 2019)

“I voted for Hezbollah, but I don’t care about Hezbollah or the Lebanese Forces or anyone. This is for Lebanon.   In the past, we used to protest for certain parties and groups. This time, we’re here because we’re Lebanese.” — said Nasser Barakat, 42, a taxi driver from southern Lebanon.  He was one of thousands of Lebanese who are protesting against governmental corruption.  (NYT, Oct. 18, 2019)

“If Israel or America make a mistake, Israel won’t live for longer than 20 or 30 minutes. We have thought about all these things.” — the chairman of Iran’s National Security Agency Mojtaba Zonnour said in an interview with Iran’s Channel 5. Zonnour added that they are “tracking every change in the forces in America’s military bases,” and that “America has 36 bases in the region. The closest one is in Bahrain, and the farthest is in Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean.” (WIN, Oct. 27, 2019)

“But there is an older understanding of liberalism that is deeply endangered, that will not revive on its own, that will be rescued only through conscious choices by liberals themselves. What I have in mind is a liberalism more of means than of ends, a belief that individual and minority-group rights can be protected only in a society governed by the rule of law, neutral institutions and secular, rational debate. This broader doctrine, which encompasses both the modern left and the modern right, has a disputed genealogy. Some begin their story with John Locke, with the idea of government created by individuals for their own benefit. Others begin with Adam Smith, the first exponent of the doctrine of the free market. … Modern liberalism came into being with Franklin Roosevelt, who forged a collective language of “we” without abandoning the “I” of individual liberty to which Madison and Jefferson had devoted themselves. Polarization has persuaded growing numbers of people on the left that the national “we” is a fiction propagated by straight white men. They would challenge Mr. Trump’s white-identity politics with an “other identity” politics that emphasizes the intrinsic difference of historically marginalized groups, whether African-Americans or L.G.B.T.Q. persons, rather than their right to full membership in the national community. This is a recipe for endless cultural warfare, and it will not be easy, especially for an ideologically driven figure like Senator Warren, to resist that tidal pull. In a rare slip that exposed his true feelings, Mr. Obama once said that “bitter” people “cling to guns or religion,” or racism, xenophobia or protectionism, “as a way to explain their frustrations.” The clear implication is that while liberal values like diversity, unlimited personal autonomy and secularism are universal, conservative values are a kind of pathology. Most liberals, at least under truth serum, would probably say the same. A Democratic president, whatever his or her actual feelings, will have to take conservative values more seriously, as long as they share the same liberal root system. Democrats on the left hardly believe that only bitter people want to restrict free trade. They should accept that the same is true of people who want to see limits on immigration or balk at the modern politics of gender. The poisons that now corrupt our national bloodstream will not be washed clean by a Democratic victory in 2020. That would only mark the beginning of liberal renewal.” – writes columnist James Traub author of “What Was Liberalism.” (NYT, Oct. 17, 2019)

“Rashida [Tlaib] has been a leader in the fight for decent jobs, a leader in the fight for affordable housing, a leader in the fight for a clean border and she has shown that she is prepared to take on corporate greed and corruption and stand with the working class of this country. I will look to her for her leadership in Congress under a Sanders’ administration.”  – Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders told a crowd in Detroit. Michigan Rep.Tlaib officially endorsed Senator Sanders for president at a Detroit rally. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 28, 2019)

“American Jews are deeply concerned about anti-Semitism and believe it is getting worse. Nearly nine out of every ten American Jews (88%) believe anti-Semitism is a problem in America and over eight in ten (84%) say it has increased over the past five years, including a plurality—43%—who say it has increased a lot. Concern about anti-Semitism cuts across differences of age, politics, and Jewish denomination. More than nine in ten (93%) Democrats, 87% of independents, and three-quarters of Republicans say anti-Semitism is a problem in America.” — Avi Mayer, the AJC’s Managing Director of Global Communications, wrote in an op-ed in USA Today. (Jewish Press, Oct. 23, 2019)

“The resolution before you is absurd. Never again will anyone allow the Jews to feel unsafe on this campus, whether we be affected by swastika graffiti, neo-nazi vitriol on the quad, or university-sponsored presentations which uniquely seek to delegitimize the establishment of a Jewish state.” — Lauren Nesher speaking on behalf of 400 Jewish students at the University of Illinois protesting the Students for Justice in Palestine’s resolution that stated that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.  Nesher said that no one from SJP sought input from any Jewish organizations for defining what anti-Semitism is. The resolution was passed by the student senate with 29 in favor, 4 against, and 4 voting absent. (Stop anti-Semitism.org, Oct. 24, 2019)

                                           SHORT TAKES
ISRAEL PLACES EMBASSIES ON ALERT OVER IRAN THREAT, RAMPS UP AIR DEFENSES (Jerusalem) — On Tuesday, reports surfaced in Israel that the nation’s military altered air defenses to adjust to current threats posed by Iran. In addition, several Israeli embassies across the globe ratcheted up alert levels to account for Iran’s recent actions. Monday evening, Netanyahu held a press conference with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in which he warned that Iran has already begun placing precision-guided missiles in Yemen, and intends to strike Israel from these positions. (WIN, Oct. 29, 2019)

PM HARIRI RESIGNS AS LEBANON CRISIS TURNS VIOLENT (Beirut) —  Saad al-Hariri resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister on Tuesday, declaring he had hit a “dead end” in trying to resolve a crisis unleashed by huge protests against the ruling elite and plunging the country deeper into turmoil. By resigning, he defied Hezbollah, which was part of his coalition and wanted him and the government to stay on. Hariri is seen as the focal point for Western and Gulf Arab aid to Lebanon, which is in dire need of financial support promised by these allies. (Reuters, Oct. 29, 2019)

HOUSE PASSES RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING ARMENIAN GENOCIDE (Washington) — The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to formally recognize the Armenian genocide and denounce it as a matter of American foreign policy, a symbolic vindication for the Armenian diaspora made possible by a new torrent of bipartisan furor at Turkey. The nonbinding passage of the legislation, by a 405-to-11 vote, is the first time a chamber of Congress has officially designated the 1915 mass killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) refused to vote for a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide and was one of just three representatives who voted “present.” (NYT, Oct. 29, 2019)

CORBYN’S JEWISH ARCH ENEMY WINS BARKING NOMINATION (London) — Margaret Eve Hodge (née Oppenheimer, a.k.a. Dame Margaret), a Labour Party Member of Parliament for Barking in Greater London, was re-selected on Monday by her local party constituents to run for her own seat. On June 2016, together with MP Ann Coffey, Hodge called for a motion of no confidence in party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and shortly thereafter supported Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election. (Jewish Press, Oct. 29, 2019)

EXCLUSIVE CANADIAN PRIVATE SCHOOL PUNISHES STUDENTS FOR ANTISEMITIC BEHAVIOUR (Vancouver) — Up to 19 students from an exclusive private school faced strong disciplinary action — including expulsion — after they were recently discovered making Nazi salutes on campus and mocking the Holocaust on a private online messaging channel, among other racist and antisemitic offenses. The students attending the $45,000-per-year St. George’s School in the Canadian city were reported to school staff by another student who discovered their antisemitic posts on a direct message group earlier this month. (Algemeiner, Oct. 24, 2019)

TOP CANADIAN JEWISH GROUP ‘DEEPLY CONCERNED’ BY FEDERALLY-FUNDED VOTING GUIDE THAT PROMOTED BDS (Toronto) — B’nai Brith Canada was “deeply concerned” about the “Canadian Muslim Voting Guide: Federal Election 2019” that was published by the Canadian Islamophobia Industry Research Project at Wilfred Laurier University on Oct. 18 prior to the Oct. 21st federal elections. The voting guide assigned a “Fail” grade to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for recognizing that BDS is a form of antisemitism that harms Jewish students on Canadian campuses and gives the same failing grade to Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer. (Algemeiner, Oct. 25, 2019)

JUMP IN WORLD BANK’S ‘EASE OF DOING BUSINESS’ RANKINGS HAILED AS ‘GREAT NEWS’ FOR ISRAELI ECONOMY (Jerusalem) — Israel jumped 14 spots this year in the World Bank’s annual “Ease of Doing Business” rankings. The move from 49th to 35th place was celebrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “important achievement.” (Algemeiner, Oct. 24, 2019)

IDF APPOINTS FIRST FEMALE OFFICER TO LEAD INTELLIGENCE DIVISION (Jerusalem) — History was made when IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi appointed a woman to the position of Chief Intelligence Officer for the IDF regional command. (United With Israel, Oct. 29, 2019)

POLL: ISRAELI POLITICAL SYSTEM IS IN DISARRAY (Jerusalem) — A recent poll conducted by the Menachem Lazar of the Israel Democracy Center’s Guttman Center revealed what voters think of a Netanyahu – Gantz rotation, the inclusion of the ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israelis in the government, a 2-party system, revoting for the same party again if a third election is called, and an Netanyahu indictment. 56% of the public support a rotation between Netanyahu and Gantz for the position of prime minister; 14% support a rotation only if Netanyahu is first in line to serve as prime minister, and 20% only if Gantz is first. 41% of the general public is in favor of including the ultra-Orthodox parties in the government, while 66% of Jews view the establishment of a coalition that includes the Arab Joint List as problematic. According to the poll, 56% of Israelis support the idea of a 2-party system, as compared with 33% who oppose it. (JOL, Oct. 25, 2019)

ISRAEL’S JEWISH DEMOGRAPHY REFUTES PESSIMISM (Jerusalem) — In defiance of Israel’s “demographers of doom” – who promoted the myth of an Arab demographic time bomb – the September 2019 data published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) documents the sustained Westernization of Arab fertility rate (number of births per woman), a persisting increase in the Jewish fertility rate, growing Aliyah (Jewish immigration) and the decline of Jewish emigration. According to the ICBS, the Jewish fertility rate for 2018 ascended to 3.17 births per woman, while the westernized Arab fertility rate decreased to 3.04. When the Jewish father is Israeli-born, which points at the current trend, the Jewish fertility rate grows to 3.34 births per woman. (Jewish Press, Oct. 28, 2019)

BERNIE SANDERS PROMISES TO BREAK US LAW BY DIVERTING AID TO GAZA (Washington) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told J Street’s annual conference in Washington, DC, that should he be elected president, he would divert some of the money the US gives Israel as defense assistance to pay for humanitarian relief in the Gaza Strip. According to JTA, Sanders was “the most robustly in favor of pressuring Israel,” out of all the Democratic candidates who either appeared in person or sent video speeches. (Jewish Press, Oct. 29, 2019)

HALEY BLASTS SANDERS OVER J STREET SPEECH: ‘JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT HE COULDN’T GET ANY MORE RADICAL’ (Washington) — Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying that he “outdid himself” on Monday in expressing how “radical” his policies would be if he were to win the White House. “Just when you thought Bernie Sanders couldn’t get any more radical, he outdid himself,” tweeted Haley. “He wants to take money we give to Israel to defend itself from terrorists, and give it to Gaza, which is run by terrorists?? Unreal,” the former ambassador added, challenging the other Democratic presidential contenders by asking: “Why isn’t every other Dem pres candidate saying he’s wrong?” (WIN, Oct. 29, 2019)

CANDIDATE JULIAN CASTRO SUPPORTS ‘DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO PRESSURE ISRAEL’ AGAINST ANNEXATION, SETTLEMENTS (Washington) — Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro says he “would not take off the table the option of conditioning our aid on Israel not annexing the West Bank.” The San Antonio politician, a former cabinet member of the Obama administration, made the remark at a J Street conference in Washington DC. (Jewish Press, Oct. 28, 2019)

DISGUISED AS AGRICULTURAL WORK, FRENCH PRO-BDS ORG ALSO SUPPORTS TERRORISM (France) — The Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS), a pro-Palestinian organization that has declared itself part of the anti-Israel boycott movement, is also involved in funding the activities of an organization tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization. AFPS supports the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), an organization associated with the PFLP. (Jewish Press, Oct. 28, 2019)

                                     FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:

WATCH: Elizabeth Warren Promises at J Street She’ll Support ‘Both Capitals’ in Jerusalem:  Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Oct. 29, 2019 — Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told the participants of this week’s J Street national conference in Washington DC, “I believe that the way we respect all parties is through a two-state solution.”

WATCH: The Attempt to Revive the False Charge that Israel Is Racist:  Dore Gold, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Oct. 29, 2019 — Every few years there is a voice that emerges which seeks to brand Israel or its leaders as racist.