Daily Briefing: “Wednesday’s News of The Week In Review” (February 12, 2020)

Kirk Douglas (Source: Flickr)



After the funeral of [former Israeli President] Shimon Peres, a senior US figure [President Obama] sent me a message: ‘If you want such a great funeral, you need to start giving in.’ I said in response: ‘I’m not worried about my funeral, I’m worried about preventing the funeral of my country,” – said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a conference in Maaleh Adumim.  He insisted that “without Judea and Samaria, our existence is in danger.”  The prime minister also criticized the Israeli left who he said have worked unerringly to give Israel’s “heartland” away, especially former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was willing to give the Western Wall to the Palestinians and who came out publicly against President Trump’s peace deal.  (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 8, 2020)


“The application of Israeli law to the territory which the Plan provides to be part of Israel is subject to the completion of a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee … any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition. … A little bit of patience, to go through a process, to do it right, is not something which we think is too much to ask for,” – tweeted U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.  He cautioned Israel not to proceed with annexing Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria before a joint Israel-U.S. committee completes mapping the area. (WIN, Feb. 9, 2020)


“This plan violates international legitimacy. … It annuls the legitimacy of Palestinian rights, our right to self-determination, freedom and independence of our own state,” – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN Security Council. He also maintained that the plan violates numerous U.N. resolutions, annuls Palestinian rights “to self-determination, freedom and independence in our own state,” and should not be considered a basis for negotiations. (WIN, Feb. 11, 2020)


“The reason the Palestinian cause has gone on this long is because they have done a remarkable job of allowing other countries to fund them and fund terrorism, like the pay-for-slay. And there has not yet been a reason for other countries to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ I think this plan, with all its shortcomings, will start causing other countries to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” – said Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s former Middle East negotiator and one of the chief architects of the Trump peace plan during an interview.  (Hamodia, Feb. 5, 2020)


“Anti-Antisemitism is a pandemic and I believe that it crosses oceans and borders. But we should always keep it in the context that the American people reject anti-Semitism. The American government, elected officials — Democrats and Republicans — all reject anti-Semitism. There are individuals who have engaged in rhetoric that we find very troubling and we’re addressing, and we’re meeting with officials at all levels and we’re meeting with the leaders of ethnic groups. We’re trying to counter those trends and keep Israel from becoming a partisan issue,”  — said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a wide ranging conversation with The Times of Israel. (Times of Israel, Feb. 10, 2020)


“I think Schumer and Pelosi have to go. Schumer, because of his history of lying. You know, Pelosi actually called for me to be disbarred … because I had persuaded some senators [Dershowitz argued during the Senate impeachment trial that the two articles of impeachment the Congress passed against the president did not constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors] … And then tearing up that speech, and bringing forward impeachment on unconstitutional grounds. I think the Dems need new leaders if they have any chance of returning to power in a two-party system,” – Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a registered Democrat, said during a Sunday interview on The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis. (Washington Examiner, Feb. 9, 2020)


“We just had an election in 2018. We did great. We talked about everything we needed to talk about, and we won. And now it’s like we’re losing our damn minds. Someone’s got to step their game up here. … We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments—talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party,” — Democratic political consultant James Carville said in an interview.  (Vox, Feb. 7, 2020)


Their way[Ronald Reagan and JFK]is gone, maybe forever. Democrats blame this on Donald Trump, and in the area of historical consciousness he is, truly, a hopeless cause. But this week Democrats joined him in the pit. Do they understand what a disaster this was for them? If Mr. Trump wins re-election, if in fact it isn’t close, it will be traceable to this first week in February. Iowa made them look the one way a great party cannot afford to look: unserious. … They can’t run a tiny caucus in a tiny state, but they want us to believe they can reinvent American health care? … You know what Iowa really tells us? Anything can happen now—anything. Because rigor in politics is waning, the old disciplines are not holding, old responsibilities are being thrown off. It was a failure of competence by people who were just passing through and burnishing their personal brands. What a disaster. And what happened a day later in the House was just as bad. Speaker Nancy Pelosi shattered tradition, making faces, muttering, shaking her head as the president delivered his State of the Union address. At the end she famously stood, tore the speech up and threw down the pieces. “But he didn’t shake her hand.” So what? Her great calling card is she’s the sane one,” – writes political columnist Peggy Noonan on what most analysts say was a terrible week for Democrats.  (WSJ, Feb. 6, 2020)







FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER JOINS ABBAS TO CONDEMN ‘DEAL OF THE CENTURY’ (NYC) — Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York City condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” (WIN, Feb. 7, 2020)

PA RETREAT AT UN: ABBAS PULLS VOTE TO CONDEMN TRUMP PLAN (NYC) –– In an embarrassment for the Palestinian Authority, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, pulled a planned resolution to reject the Trump administration’s peace plan, which he had intended to put before the UN Security Council. According to diplomats, the resolution didn’t have the nine out of 15 votes to win support, barring a veto. That veto would have certainly come anyway from the U.S. The PA collapse came after “an American-Israeli blitz” that put pressure, including the threat of financial penalties, on members of the UN Security Council not to support the resolution, which was put forward by Indonesia and Tunisia. (WIN, Feb. 11, 2020)


TUNISIA SACKS U.N. AMBASSADOR FOR OPPOSING TRUMP’S PEACE PLAN (Tunis) — Tunisia’s United Nations ambassador, Moncef Baati, was abruptly summoned to his capital after leading diplomatic negotiations on a Palestinian draft Security Resolution declaring U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan in breach of international law, according to three diplomats. Two of those diplomats said they understood Tunisia’s newly elected President Kais Saied had fired Baati—who has served for only five months—following complaints from the United States as part of an effort to head off a major rift in relations with the United States at the start of his administration. (FP, Feb. 7, 2020)


UK LABOUR’S CORBYN DENOUNCES TRUMP PEACE PLAN, BACKS ‘RIGHT OF RETURN’ THAT WOULD ELIMINATE ISRAEL’S JEWISH MAJORITY (London) — UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who an overwhelming majority of British Jews consider to be an anti-Semite and whose party was soundly defeated in the last election, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding he clarify his position on US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace initiative and denouncing a “process of annexation” he claimed was being carried out by Israel. (Algemeiner, Feb. 4, 2020)


HISTORIC MEETING BETWEEN NETANYAHU, SAUDI CROWN PRINCE IN THE WORKS (Cairo) — Intensive talks are underway between Washington, Jerusalem, Cairo and Riyadh to convene a summit in Cairo, possibly before Israel’s March 2 election, that would serve as a venue for a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, senior Arab diplomatic sources said.  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his team have been mediating between Israel and Saudi Arabia for the past few months. (United With Israel, Feb. 9, 2020)


TERROR BALLOONS DISCOVERED IN WASTEPAPER FACTORY, NEAR KINDERGARTEN (Ofakim) — Explosives attached to a bunch of balloons were discovered between stacks of paper destined for recycling at a factory in Ofakim, west of Beer Sheva.  A balloon with what was suspected to be an explosive landed near a kindergarten at Kibbutz Saad in the Sedot Negev Regional Council. The launching of terror balloons from the Gaza Strip has increased sharply in the last weeks. (WIN, Feb. 11, 2020)


ISRAEL’S PRIME MINISTER, DEFENSE MINISTER THREATEN IDF OPERATION IN GAZA AS ROCKET FIRE CONTINUES (Jerusalem) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett issued warnings of possible Israeli military action against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, against the backdrop of continuing rocket and explosive balloon attacks on southern Israel.(Algemeiner, Feb. 9, 2020)


IDF CAPTURES TERRORIST WHO SLAMMED CAR INTO 12 SOLDIERS (Gush Etzion) —  Following extensive operational and intelligence efforts conducted with security forces, the Shin Bet, and the Israeli Police Counter Terrorism Unit, Israeli troops apprehended the terrorist who carried out the car-ramming attack in Jerusalem that injured 12 IDF soldiers early that morning. The terrorist, Sanad al-Turman, a 25-year-old resident of A-Tur, an Arab neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, was arrested at the Gush Etzion Junction and transferred to security forces for further questioning. (JOL, Feb. 7, 2020)


SURVEY: ISRAEL ONLY COUNTRY IN WHICH A MAJORITY APPROVE OF TRUMP’S FOREIGN POLICY (Jerusalem) — The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, examined attitudes toward Trump’s foreign policy in 33 countries to establish a “net” approval rating. According to the results, 55% of Israelis approve of Trump’s foreign policy, with 32% disapproving. This is far ahead of the next most-approving country, Poland, in which only 34% backed Trump’s foreign affairs conduct. Only 18% of people across all 33 surveyed countries said they viewed Trump’s foreign policy positively. (Algemeiner, Feb. 4, 2020)


HEBREW U CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR CALLS FOR ARMED PALESTINIAN MILITIAS AGAINST THEIR JEWISH NEIGHBORS (Jerusalem) — Amiram Goldblum, a senior chemistry professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, sparked controversy when he called on “Palestinians” to “establish armed militias to protect their villages and towns from the mitnachablim (a combination of the Hebrew words for settlers and terrorists). Facebook removed the post within hours for violating its guidelines, but Goldblum doubled down on his statement in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 online. (Jewish Press, Feb. 5, 2020)


POPULAR AL JAZEERA TALK SHOW HOST SETS OFF FIRESTORM BY CLAIMING ZIONISM ‘MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT OF THE PAST CENTURY’ (Qatar) — Faisal al-Kasim, a pugnacious but widely admired host on the Qatari network Al Jazeera caused a storm of controversy over the weekend when he tweeted “The majority of Arabs, if they want to insult you, describe you as ‘Zionist,’ knowing that the most successful project of the past century and the present is the Zionist project, while all projects of the Arabs, especially Arab nationalism, have failed.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 9, 2020)


ARAB MEDIA JOINS NEO-NAZIS IN BLAMING JEWS FOR CORONAVIRUS (Saudi Arabia) — In a piece published last week by the Suadi Al-Watan, writer Sa’ud Al-Shehry claimed that the coronavirus was a plot hatched by American and Israeli drug companies aimed at increasing their profits. “A ‘wonder’ virus was discovered yesterday in China; tomorrow it will be discovered in Egypt, but it will not be discovered either today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow in the U.S. or Israel,” Al-Shehry writes. (WIN, Feb. 10, 2020)


IRAN AGAIN FAILS TO PUT SATELLITE INTO ORBIT (Tehran) — Iran tried but failed to put a satellite into orbit on Sunday, state television reported, the latest setback for work that the United States says helps Tehran advance its ballistic missile program. The launch of a Simorgh rocket in Semnan Province, about 145 miles southeast of Tehran, sought to put a communications satellite into orbit. It failed because of low speed, Iranian state TV reported. (NYTimes, Feb. 9, 2020)


ELIZABETH WARREN SAYS SHE WILL SKIP THE AIPAC CONFERENCE (New Hampshire) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren indicated she would skip the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s conference next month and did not push back against questionable assertions about the lobby from a questioner at a campaign event in New Hampshire.  The questioner asserted that as an American Jew, she was “terrified by the unholy alliance that AIPAC is forming with Islamapohobes and anti-Semites and white nationalists and no Democrat should legitimize that kind of bigotry by attending their annual policy conference.”  The Jewish anti-occupation group IfNotNow said that the questioner, identified as Sarah O’Connor, was acting on its behalf. (JTA, Feb. 7, 2020)


ORTHODOX ISRAELI WOMAN TAKES 1ST PLACE IN US HALF-MARATHON (Miami) — An orthodox Jewish woman from Israel beat out 20,871 racers at Sunday’s half-marathon at the 18th annual Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon event. Bracha “Beatie” Deutsch, a mother of five from Jerusalem, ran to raise money for Beit Daniella, a charity for children with mental illnesses. (WIN, Feb. 11, 2020)


WATCH:  David Friedman – The Trump Plan: A Changing Diplomatic Paradigm for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 9, 2020, YouTube — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman appearing at a special briefing on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.






WATCH: The Life and Legacy of Kirk Douglas, Born to Jewish Immigrants from Russia:WIN, Feb. 9, 2020 Kirk Douglas, who was born to Jewish immigrants from Russia, became one of the great Hollywood stars of his generation. I24NEWS took a look back at his life and legacy.





WATCH:  Uganda People Support Israel in DrovesUnited With Israel, Feb. 9, 2020 — “We are fulfilling what the Israeli prime minister said when he visited Uganda: Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel,” organizers of a massive pro-Israel rally in the city of Mabarara said.


Protester Removed from Trump Campaign Event for Yelling that Trump Supporters are ‘Killing Jews’:JTA, Feb. 4, 2020 —  A Jewish protester was removed from a Donald Trump campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, after he interrupted the event by accusing the president of fomenting anti-Semitism.