Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAYS NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Media-ocrity of the Week
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The Most Dangerous Phase of Trump’s Rule:  Roger Cohen, NY Times, July 10, 2020

One of the core characteristics of fascism is nostalgia, a pining for a culture of masculinity and monumentalism, evident in Hitler’s Nazi Party and the architecture it embraced for the 1,000-year Reich. Trump’s nostalgia is for some unidentified moment of American greatness, when white male property owners ruled alone, the nation’s global dominance was unchallenged, women stayed home, and gender was not 360. By choosing to speak at Mount Rushmore on the eve of Independence Day, Trump attempted to inscribe his nationalism in a monumental narrative of American heroism. It was straight from the autocratic playbook.

“Another central characteristic of nationalism and fascism is their need to define themselves against an enemy. Trump has chosen his: China, designated as the culprit for the coronavirus debacle (and the scapegoat behind which the president can hide his own equal responsibility); and the “angry mobs” he alluded to at Mount Rushmore who constitute, Trump said, a new “far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.

“It is Trump who demands “absolute allegiance” — look at his trembling cabinet — and whose nationalism is fascist-tinged. He has turned an uprising against racial injustice after the killing of George Floyd into a pretext to lash out against “criminal” mobs.,” – writes political columnist Roger Cohen.

Trump Adds to Playbook of Stoking White Fear and Resentment Maggie Haberman, NYTimes, July 6, 2020

“Almost every day in the last two weeks, Mr. Trump has sought to stoke white fear and resentment, portraying himself as a protector of an old order that polls show much of America believes perpetuates entrenched racism and wants to move beyond. … Mr. Trump continues to cast himself as a defender of the history of the American South, despite its stains of slavery and oppression. He has called the phrase “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate,” and he has repeatedly tried to depict pockets of violence during protests against entrenched racism as representative of the protest movement as a whole.– writes political columnist Maggie Haberman. 

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

We are appalled by the incendiary and offensive statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that characterized the recent conversion of the ancient church and most recently museum, Hagia Sophia, to a mosque as part of ‘return to freedom to Al-Aksa,’ implying that he seeks to take control of the holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” —  the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) said. On July 10, Erdogan decided to change the status of Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia, a former Orthodox Christian cathedral, from a museum to a mosque, saying it represented his country’s will to use its “sovereign rights”. (Algemeiner, July 14, 2020)

“I am writing to update you on plans for the Wayne exhibit, located in the main building of the School of Cinematic Arts Complex. Conversations about systemic racism in our cultural institutions along with the recent global, civil uprising by the Black Lives Matter Movement require that we consider the role our School can play as a change maker in promoting antiracist cultural values and experiences. Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne Exhibit will be removed.” –  Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Evan Hughes issued a statement explaining the school’s decision in a memo shared on Twitter. (Fox News, July 11, 2020)

“… the lessons that ought to have followed the [2016 US presidential] election — lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society — have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

“I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery. Intellectual curiosity — let alone risk-taking — is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm,” – writes author, writer and editor Bari Weiss who resigned from The New York Times, complaining in a letter to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger of “unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge.” In the letter, Weiss wrote that she had become “the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views.” (Algemeiner, July 14, 2020)
 

  SHORT TAKES

PM PLEDGES CASH AS PROTESTERS PAN VIRUS RESPONSE(Jerusalem) — Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to provide financial support for Israelis who lost their livelihoods in the lockdown after more than 80,000 people protested his government’s economic response to the coronavirus. Protesters gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to voice frustration with Netanyahu, who had won praise for his early response but has come under criticism as the infection rate soared to 1,000 cases per day. Netanyahu did not acknowledge the protest ahead of his cabinet meeting but promised cash handouts of up to 7,500 shekels ($2,950) to the self-employed. (Vancouver Sun, July 13, 2020)

POLLS: MOST ISRAELIS DISSATISFIED WITH NETANYAHU’S HANDLING OF PANDEMIC (Jerusalem) — According to a Channel 13 poll, 61 percent of Israelis disapprove of Netanyahu’s overall handling of the COVID-19 crisis, and 75% are unhappy with how his government has handled the economic fallout of the pandemic. Only 16% said that they were satisfied with the government’s economic response.  Fifteen percent said that they were satisfied with Netanyahu, while 19% were quite satisfied. This marked a stark reversal from how the public viewed the prime minister in April, during the first wave of the virus, when 70% were either satisfied or very satisfied with his performance. (Times of Israel, July 15, 2020)

ISRAELI SPRAYS MAY HELP PREVENT CORONAVIRUS SPREAD(Jerusalem) — While most countries are imploring their citizens to stop coronavirus via facemasks, social distancing and hand-washing, Bio-Wall, a nasal spray under development at the Israeli company BioChange, may provide a new solution with its use of a temporary flexible film over the mucosa of the nose, throat and oral cavity. The antiviral components of the film are designed to trap the virus and block its spread. (Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2020)

A HAMAS DEFECTION: LIKE A SCENE OUT OF ‘FAUDA’ (Gaza Strip) — It sounds like a scene from the show Fauda: A senior Hamas naval commando suspected of spying for Israel is clandestinely extracted from Gaza with highly valuable intelligence information in tow, leaving behind his family and friends. it appears that most of the details are still dark. Still, it’s easy to understand why Israel would be particularly interested in Hamas’ naval commando unit: It’s an elite fighting force, mainly created to give Hamas the ability to perpetrate high-quality attacks inside Israel. In recent years, the IDF has invested heavily in fortifying the country’s southern shores, including a deep-water security barrier with motion sensors and continuous maritime patrols. Still, immensely valuable information from a quality agent could shed light on Hamas’ future plans and make it easier to foil them. (Algemeiner, July 14, 2020)

IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES ARE MYSTERIOUSLY UNDER ATTACK (Tehran) — Black smoke rose as flames engulfed the Shahid Tondgooyan petrochemical plant in the Khuzestan province of Iran. Hours earlier, detonations rocked the basement of an old, nondescript home in a northern pocket of Tehran. The two-story dwelling was said to have housed at least 30 gas cylinders that were used for unclear purposes. Both incidents came fewer than two days after a string of explosions – and power outages – were reported west of Tehran in the early hours of Friday. Local reports indicated that multiple “mortar-like sounds similar to anti-aircraft missiles” were heard. The blasts reportedly took place at an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile depot. (Fox News, July 14, 2020)

LONG-PLANNED AND BIGGER THAN THOUGHT: STRIKE ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM (Tehran) — New satellite photographs over the stricken facility at Natanz show far more extensive damage than was clear last week. Two intelligence officials, updated with the damage assessment for the Natanz site recently compiled by the United States and Israel, said it could take the Iranians up to two years to return their nuclear program to the place it was just before the explosion. An authoritative public study estimates it will be a year or more until Iran’s centrifuge production capacity recovers. Another major explosion hit the country early Friday morning, lighting up the sky in a wealthy area of Tehran. It was still unexplained — but appeared to come from the direction of a missile base. If it proves to have been another attack, it will further shake the Iranians by demonstrating, yet again, that even their best-guarded nuclear and missile facilities have been infiltrated.  (NYTimes, July 10, 2020)

ACT NOW! DEMAND YOUTUBE REMOVE FARRAKHAN’S ANTI-SEMITIC JULY 4 SPEECH CALLING JEWS ‘SATAN’ (California) — Calls to ban the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan from YouTube are mounting after a three-hour hate-filled tirade was uploaded to the platform. The anti-Semitic preacher has already been banned from Facebook, and YouTube must follow suit. During Farrakhan’s July 4, 2020 “Criterion” speech, which racked up 850,000 views and was streamed live on YouTube, Farrakhan declared, “Those of you that say that you’re Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You are not a Jew… you are Satan and it is my job now to pull the cover off of Satan so that every Muslim, when he sees Satan, pick up a stone, as we do in Mecca.”  (United With Israel, July 5, 2020)

ANTI-ISRAEL SOROS GROUPS CASH IN ON CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUNDS (Washington, DC) — Two anti-Israel groups bankrolled by liberal billionaire George Soros accepted as much as $1.3 million from the Trump administration’s coronavirus relief fund. The far-left Middle East advocacy group J Street and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a pro-Tehran group central to Iran’s propaganda efforts in America, both accepted loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). J Street, which has consistently criticized the Trump administration for its pro-Israel agenda, received between $350,000 to $1 million for its Education Fund, a nonprofit arm that organizes educational initiatives. NIAC, a chief proponent of the Iran nuclear deal, accepted between $150,000 to $350,000 from the PPP program. (WIN, July 8, 2020)

EXPOSED: PALESTINIAN BANKS REFUSE TO ALLOW SALARY PAYMENTS TO TERRORISTS (Ramallah) — Ignoring a directive from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to all banks in the PA areas that they must accept money for payment of salaries to the accounts of terrorists and families of killed terrorists, at least four banks have refused to follow the PA’s dictates. This was exposed by PA Director of the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr. All the banks are refusing to allow these groups to use their ATM cards. This comes two and a half months after Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) sent letters warning the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas of potential criminal and civil liability if they continued aiding and abetting the PA to pay rewards to terrorists. (United With Israel, July 8, 2020)

FRENCH JUDGES ORDER ACCUSED ANTISEMITIC MURDERERS OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR MIREILLE KNOLL TO FACE CRIMINAL TRIAL (Paris) — French judges ordered the two men accused of robbing and killing a Holocaust survivor at her Paris home in 2018 to stand trial on a charge of murder aggravated by antisemitism. Yacine Mihoub, 30, and his associate Alex Carrimbacus, 25, are alleged to have brutally murdered 85-year-old Mireille Knoll — a survivor of the mass deportation of the Jews of Paris in July 1942 — in her apartment on the Avenue Philippe-Auguste on March 23, 2018. (Algemeiner, July 14, 2020)

580,000 HONG KONGERS CAST ‘PROTEST’ VOTE AGAINST NEW SECURITY LAWS (Hong Kong) — Nearly 600,000 Hong Kong citizens cast ballots in what the Chinese-ruled city’s opposition camp said was a symbolic protest vote against a tough national security law directly imposed by Beijing. The unofficial poll will decide the strongest pro-democracy candidates to contest elections in September to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Then, they aim to seize majority control for the first time from pro-Beijing rivals by riding a wave of anti-China sentiment stirred by the law, which critics say has gravely undermined Hong Kong’s freedoms. (National Post, July 12, 2020)

CHINA ISSUES BUBONIC PLAGUE WARNING FOR INNER MONGOLIA CITY (Beijing) — Authorities in a city in Mongolia issued a warning one day after a hospital reported a case of suspected bubonic plague. The health committee of the city of Bayan Nur issued the third-level alert, the second lowest in a four-level system. The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague and asks the public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots. The bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages, is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that is spread mostly by rodents. (CBC, July 5, 2020)

GOYA FOODS BOYCOTT TAKES OFF AFTER ITS PRESIDENT PRAISES TRUMP (Washington, DC) — Goya Foods, whose products are a staple of American households, became the target of a boycott and considerable backlash after its leader praised President Trump during a visit to the White House. Bob Unanue, the president of Goya Foods, was at the White House on Thursday to announce that the company would donate one million cans of chickpeas and another one million pounds of food to food banks in the United States as part of President Trump’s Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. During the appearance, Mr. Unanue said the United States was “blessed” to have Mr. Trump as its leader. (NYTimes, July 10, 2020)

WALL STREET JOURNAL STAFF MEMBERS PUSH FOR BIG CHANGES IN NEWS COVERAGE (NYC) — Staff members of The Wall Street Journal were pressing newsroom leaders to make fundamental changes in how the newspaper covers race, policing, and its primary focus, the business world, along with other matters. In a June 23 letter to the editor in chief, Matt Murray, a group identifying itself only as “members of the WSJ newsroom” said the paper must “encourage more muscular reporting about race and social inequities,” and laid out detailed proposals for revising its news coverage. (NYTimes, July 10, 2020)

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

WATCH:  Cuban Immigrant’s Warning To Our Young People Who Are Demonstrating Out There: Don’t Be Useful Idiots: Real Clear Politics, July 12, 2020  —  South Florida gas distributor and Cuban immigrant Maximo Alvarez spoke about his American dream and warned against socialism during an event Friday at the White House.

Newt’s World: Episode 95: Daniel Silva’s The Order:  Newt Gingrich, Podcast, July 12, 2020– he Order is a stunning new action-packed thriller of high stakes international intrigue featuring the enigmatic art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon. The Order is the 20th novel in the Gabriel Allon series. Newt’s guest is Daniel Silva, the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Violin Prodigy Played with a ‘Mind-Blowing’ Urgency:  Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollheimm, Globe and Mail, July 13, 2020 — In later decades she complained about being sidelined by younger players in a market that prized attractive new faces. But well into her 80s, she embraced any opportunity to play. In a 2004 documentary by Dutch director Paul Cohen, she declared matter of factly, ‘I am the violin.’  Ida Haendel as a CIJR National Board member.

Dershowitz: Beinart’s Solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is an Invitation to Possible Genocide Alan Dershowitz, Algemeiner, July 14, 2020Peter Beinart’s New York Times op-ed advocating the end of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is a study in historical ignorance, willful deception and arrogant rejection of democracy.

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