Daily Briefing: Wednesday’s News of the Week in Review


Sophie Wilmes (Source: Wikipedia)




“Something very big is happening: the transformation of Israel in the minds of many in the Middle East. It’s no longer being perceived as an enemy. We’ve become an indispensable ally against the enemy of militant Islam.” – said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a 200-strong crowd in Jerusalem at the kick-off event of the Christian Media Summit and inauguration of the Friends of Zion Museum’s new media center.  (United With Israel, Nov. 4, 2019)

“Israel has had the great fortune of having new friends from everywhere in the world. … I believe that the best friendship is the one that is not only based on common interests, and there are definitely many of those. I believe that the best friendship is the one that is based on an alliance of values. This is what we have with Canada, and this is what we have with tonight’s guest. … Stephen, you have stood up for those values time and again. You’re still doing that today. And we welcome you once again to Jerusalem. Welcome, friend.” – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at an event in honor of the dedication of the new visitors’ center named after former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper, at JNF-KKL Hula Lake Park. (MFA, Nov. 5, 2019)

“The great success of “woke social justice” ideology can be attributed in part to the capture of America’s education system by grievance partisanship. From the grievance fields of women’s studies, black studies, indigenous studies, Chicano studies, etc., “woke” ideology and virtue signaling spread rapidly to anthropology, sociology, political science, English, and other “humanistic” disciplines, social work, and education. From radical “social justice education faculties, “woke” feminist, anti-American teachers spread across the land to shape the minds of America’s children. But no one was quicker to adopt grievance “social justice” than university administrators, who have hired thousands of “diversity and inclusion officers,” including at the highest levels of administration for salaries up to half a million dollars a year, to police thoughts and speech among students and faculty.” – Anthropologist Philip Carl Salzman writes.  (Minding the Campus, Oct. 24, 2019)

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised, and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy; there are ambiguities. … I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of: ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people, and that’s enough. Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was, I called you out. That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.” – said former President Barack Obama during an interview about youth activism at the Obama Foundation summit. (NYT, Oct. 30, 2019)

“This issue is still in the House, they’ve only just last week voted to take it up. It was noteworthy that not a single Republican voted to open this inquiry in the House. For myself, I’m not going to start commenting on all of these episodes that occur on a daily basis . . . it seems to me they still are not providing the kind of basic due process rights that were provided both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. They can’t even get the process right. Beyond that, we’ll wait until we get it here.” – Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell commented on selective daily leaks emanating from the Trump impeachment inquiry taking place behind closed doors.  (National Review, Nov. 5, 2019)

“It wasn’t just one person; it was a whole clique that I had to face every day.” – Emily, a teenaged Jewish girl who was driven out of her public school told German Justice Minister Christine Lambrech.  Emily was one of many teenagers who now attend Gymnasium Moses Mendelssohn, and who were victims of antisemitic bullying.  (Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2019)

“We are using our position as student leaders to define what the Jewish community goes through. I believe this is wrong, and we would be speaking for a community that has publicly disagreed with how we would be representing them.” — said student body vice president Jack Langen, a 21 year old non-Jew, during a student government meeting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), that was set to pass by a landslide a controversial resolution denying any link between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.  His words were greeted with boos and jeers.  (Algemeiner, Oct. 31, 2019).

“Let me be frank, there is going to be a complete battle in the Labour Party because what has happened over these past years — particularly over antisemitism — is absolutely killing the party.” – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said at the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ president dinner. (Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2019)

“In all her interviews she reminded people who seemed never to have heard of it, that there was such a thing as free speech, that libraries are places where arguments are heard, that their shelves are stocked with volumes explaining its centrality to human thought and freedom — and, by implication, that shutting down speech some people simply don’t like is regressive, illiberal, bullying, an ignition switch for mobocracy, and not to put too fine a point on it, stupid to boot.” – columnist Rex Murphy writing in defense of Vickery Bowles, chief librarian of the Toronto Public Library.  Bowles didn’t cave to transgender activists who protested feminist Meghan Murphy’s speech that took place at the library.  The title of the speech was  “Gender identity: What does it mean for society, the law and women?” Her speech was strongly opposed by various groups because of Murphy’s views on the rights of trans people. (National Post,Nov. 1, 2019)

                                           SHORT TAKES

IRAN ANNOUNCES SHARP RISE IN ENRICHED URANIUM PRODUCTION (Tehran) — Iran announced a more than tenfold increase in enriched uranium production following a series of steps back from commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by the United States. Iran has also developed two new advanced centrifuges, one of which is undergoing testing, said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran. (Breitbart, Nov. 4, 2019)

IDF CHIEF OF STAFF LT.:  ISRAEL’S MILITARY HAS A NEW FRONT IN IRAQ AND IN THE GOLAN HEIGHTS (Jerusalem) — The head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva quoted IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi who said that Israel’s military has a new front in Iraq, that there are Iranian Quds forces in the Golan Heights “and that’s not fear-mongering. They’re there.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2019)

NEW US SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM TARGET IRGC’S CONTROL OF CONSTRUCTION SECTOR(Washington) — The fresh sanctions were intended to “help preserve oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran’s ability to shorten its ‘breakout time’ to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes,” Morgan Ortagus — a spokesperson for the US State Department — stated. (Algemeiner,Nov. 1, 2019)

US FIGHTER JETS UPGRADED WITH ISRAELI-DEVELOPED ELECTRO-OPTIC SYSTEMS (Washington) — Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems reported that it will supply electro-optic systems for the use of US Air Force fighter jets, a contract worth approximately NIS 200 million. The advanced electro-optic system, named Litening, will be supplied to the US Air Force in collaboration with the American Northrop Grumman Company. Rafael also received an order for an electronic warfare system from a country in Asia. Both are follow-up orders for already operational systems. (Jewish Press, Nov. 4, 2019)

REPORT: ISRAEL ASKS US TO CONDITION AID TO LEBANON ON END TO HEZBOLLAH’S PRECISION-GUIDED MISSILE PROGRAM(Jerusalem) — Hezbollah possesses a large arsenal of missiles aimed at Israel, and the Jewish state made clear for some time that it will not tolerate a major buildup of advanced weaponry in the hands of the Shi’a terror group. At the news site Axios, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid reported that military assistance to Lebanon reached $100 million annually and many White House officials agreed with the Israeli position that such aid should withheld to put pressure on Hezbollah. The State Department and the Pentagon, however, were reportedly opposed to such a move. (Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2019)

ALLEGED WHITE SUPREMACIST ARRESTED OVER PLOT TO BOMB COLORADO SYNAGOGUE (Colorado) — Richard Holzer, 27, was brought into custody at a motel shortly after he examined inert explosive devices presented to him by undercover agents. Holzer’s target was said to be Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, Colorado. According to court documents, Holzer talked about killing Jews in online forums and shared photos of himself with weapons next to white supremacist symbols. (Algemeiner, Nov. 4, 2019)

CAN JOE BIDEN SAVE THE DAY FOR PRO-ISRAEL DEMOCRATS?(Washington) — After a week in which attacks on Israel by Democratic presidential candidates dominated discussion at the J Street conference, Joe Biden finally gave what’s left of the pro-Israel wing of the party a reason not to despair. After Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg all endorsed cutting military aid to Israel, Biden finally weighed in on the subject. Speaking to a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, the former vice president said the notion of conditioning continued assistance to Israel was “absolutely outrageous” and that such a policy would be a “gigantic mistake.” (Algemeiner, Nov. 4, 2019)

IT’S FINAL: HIGH COURT ORDERS DEPORTATION OF ANTI-ISRAEL HRW ACTIVIST (Jerusalem) — After months of legal proceedings and court hearings, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that the work permit of Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), should not be renewed and that he should be deported from Israel. The ruling states that Shakir is a long-standing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) activist and that his role at HRW has been to advance BDS and related anti-Israel campaigns. (Jewish Press, Nov. 5, 2019)

LIKUD FLOATS THIRD ELECTION PROPOSAL: SEND ONLY NETANYAHU AND GANTZ INTO THE RING (Jerusalem) — With still no new government in place after more than 10 months since December 26, 2018, when Israel’s Knesset legislated an early election to take place in April, and then – when no new government was formed – another one called for September, with still no light at the end of the tunnel, an old-new idea was raised by MK Aryeh Deri, leader of the religious Shas party. The idea, supported by MK Miki Zohar of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, would send Israelis to the polls to vote only for prime minister: Netanyahu vs. MK Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White faction. (WIN, Nov. 5, 2019)

ODDS OF FORMING UNITY GOVERNMENT ARE EXACTLY ‘ZERO,’ SENIOR POLITICAL OFFICIAL SAYS (Jerusalem) — As matters currently stand, there is no chance that the Likud and Blue and White parties will form a grand coalition anymore. The foremost stumbling block, an unnamed official said, is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to continue serving as the country’s leader even if criminal charges are brought against him in any of the three corruption cases hanging over him. However, said the source, Blue and White is simply not prepared to sit in a government with Netanyahu even if the most serious charge of bribery is dropped. (WIN, Nov. 5, 2019)

BELGIUM GETS ITS FIRST JEWISH WOMAN PRIME MINISTER(Brussels) — The first female and first Jew has become Belgium’s new caretaker prime minister. Belgian Funds Minister Sophie Wilmes took over the position from Charles Michel, who be replacing Donald Tusk as European Council president. Wilmes, a mother of four, will hold the position until a new coalition is formed. (JOL, Oct. 30, 2019)

WITH $2.24 BILLION IN FUNDING IN A SINGLE QUARTER, ISRAELI TECH COMPANIES SET A SIX-YEAR RECORD (Tel Aviv) — Israel-based or linked companies raised $2.24 billion across 142 deals in the third quarter of 2019, more than in any quarter since 2013, according to a report by Tel Aviv-based research firm IVC Research Center and the Israel office of international law firm Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co. The report shows a slight increase from the second quarter of 2019, which recorded $2.206 billion across 128 deals, and a bigger increase from the third quarter of 2018, which saw $1.63 billion across 119 deals. This is in line with the global trend. (Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2019)

REPORT: SAUDI ARABIA CUTS ALL TIES WITH HAMAS (Riyadh) — Saudi Arabia announced it has severed all ties with the Hamas terror organization, according to a source in the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Saudis reportedly made the announcement in a meeting with the United Nations’ Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov. (Jewish Press, Nov. 4, 2019)

CHIEF RABBINATE FORBIDS USING ORIGIN, SKIN COLOR, TO DETERMINE JEWISH STATUS (Jerusalem) — The Chief Rabbinate Council ruled that a person’s Jewish status must not be investigated because of their country of origin or skin color. The rabbinate’s decision was made following a Kan 11 exposé about Ethiopian workers at the Li-Bar catering plant in Kiryat Gat who were required to prove their Jewishness. Until that incident, the rabbinate had not regulated the clarification of a person’s Judaism in the kashrut industry. (Jewish Press, Nov. 4, 2019)

CANADIAN JEWISH GROUP TAKES TORONTO-AREA MOSQUE TO TASK OVER ARTICLE BY INFAMOUS HOLOCAUST DENIER(Toronto) – Bnai Brith Canada, a leading Jewish advocacy group strongly condemned a mosque in the Toronto area for publishing an article by a notorious Holocaust denier in its monthly magazine. In an article featured in the October 2019 edition of Crescent Magazine, which bills itself as the “newsmagazine of the Islamic Movement,” Kevin Barrett — a US Holocaust denier — claimed that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by numerous countries and international agencies, was a “racist, genocidal lie.” (Algemeiner,Nov. 1, 2019)

IDF STRIKES OVER 100 GAZA TERROR TARGETS IN RESPONSE TO FRIDAY NIGHT GAZA ROCKETS (Gaza Strip) — Gaza terrorists shot 11 rockets into Israel on Friday night that miraculously didn’t inflict any injuries on Israelis besides a 65-year-old woman getting hurt falling when running to the safe room. In response, the IDF retaliated against Gaza terror targets. (Israel Unwired, Nov. 2, 2019)

                FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:

Top UK Jewish Group Slams Senior Labour Official for Claiming Party Is ‘Doing Everything We Can’ Against Antisemitism: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Nov. 3, 2019 — A major UK Jewish group slammed the Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer on Sunday after he claimed on television that Labour is “doing everything we can” to deal with antisemitism in its ranks.

WATCH:  Rabbi Professor Jeffrey Woolf on the Historical Opening of the New Medical School in Samaria:  Avi Abelow, Israel Unwired, Oct. 31, 2019