Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” (January 29,2020)

A display of crossed Israeli and Palestinian flags with the word for peace in both Arabic (Salaam/Salam السلام) and Hebrew (Shalom שלום).
(Source: Wikipedia)

Donald Trump Announces his Middle East Peace Plan

Sky News, Jan. 28, 2020 The US President reveals his long-awaited proposal to bring peace and unity between Israel and the Palestinian territories.


“This is a historic visit and kind of a second Balfour Declaration for the Israeli settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.” — tweeted Shimon Riklin of Channel 20 News, one of an entourage of journalists who flew with Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington during the lead-up to the unveiling of the Trump peace plan. (Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2020)


[Trump is] a dog, son of a b**ch, a violent man who wants to force us into a program we’re not interested in,” – said Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.  He reacted to US President Donald Trump’s soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan, rejecting a phone call from the American leader. (United With Israel, Jan. 27, 2020)


“I am lost in admiration for the Holocaust survivors who continue to tell the world of the horrors that took place on our continent. I feel positive shame that here in Britain in 2020, we seem to be dealing with a problem of resurgent antisemitism. I will dedicate myself to the support of the Holocaust Educational Trust.” – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  (Algemeiner, Jan. 28, 2020)


“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is a very ancient disease, and historically the right wing has been the main perpetrators of it, but we also see progressivism and the left wing now participating in a variety of ways. … They demonize their opponents, people who disagree with them and resist, or don’t fit into the mold or don’t do the kinds of things that they think are the best way of organizing society,” – US Attorney General William Barr told Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn.  He pledged to track and prosecute hate crimes more aggressively on the federal level.  (JTA, Jan. 28, 2020)


We are deeply disappointed that Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante did not support the adoption of the most widely-accepted definition of antisemitism tool endorsed by reputable international bodies and adopted by dozens of democratic countries, including Canada, to enhance the fight against resurgent antisemitism. Indeed, Canada and many other countries chose the occasion to restate their commitment to IHRA and its definition of antisemitism,” – part of a statement issued by CIJA (Federation CJA). The motion, introduced by Official Opposition Leader Lionel Perez, coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp on January 27 called on the city to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. (CIJA, Jan. 28, 2020)


“Whoever leaked the book’s contents wants to use Mr. Bolton to turn the Senate impeachment trial into a larger political drama. But we’ve known Mr. Bolton long enough to doubt that he’d want to sandbag Republican Senators or the President he worked for. …  The New York Times’s story contains no “bombshells,” notwithstanding the media hype. Anyone paying attention, or who has read Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson’s Nov. 18 letter to House Members, knows that Mr. Trump mistrusted Ukraine and considered cutting off aid. Anyone who read the rough transcript of Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s President knows he wanted an investigation of Hunter and Joe Biden. All Mr. Bolton reportedly adds is news of a conversation in which Mr. Trump made a direct connection between the two that nearly everyone already assumed. This still isn’t close to a high crime or misdemeanor,” – writes the Wall St. Journal editorial board.  They responded to a NYT article that released information allegedly contained in former US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book draft that implicates President Trump more closely to ordering a delay in military aid to Ukraine. (WSJ, Jan. 27, 2020)




TRUMP UNVEILS PLAN FOR ‘REALISTIC 2-STATE’ DEAL, ‘UNDIVIDED’ ISRAELI JERUSALEM (Washington) — US President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, saying it will enshrine Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital and enable Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank, while also providing for an eventual Palestinian state with “eastern Jerusalem” as its capital. He hailed the plan as marking “a big step towards peace” for Israel, and said “we have an obligation to humanity” to get the deal done. (Times of Israel, Jan. 28, 2020)


AS PEACE PLAN ROLLS OUT, NETANYAHU SAYS HE WILL ANNEX JORDAN VALLEY, SETTLEMENTS (Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would “apply its laws to the Jordan Valley and all settlements in Judea and Samaria,” signaling he would not wait for an actual peace deal to begin annexing areas of the West Bank. Netanyahu made the pledge standing next to US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House during the US administration’s unveiling of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. (Times of Israel, Jan. 28, 2020)


ISIS VOWS TO ‘FIGHT THE JEWS,’ ATTACK ISRAEL AS US PREPARES TO RELEASE MIDEAST PLAN (M.E.) — Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, ISIS spokesman, vowed that its terror forces will start a new phase of attacks that will focus on Israel and blasted the U.S. administration’s plan to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (WIN, Jan. 27, 2020)


ISRAEL’S AG FILES INDICTMENT AGAINST NETANYAHU (Jerusalem) —Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would withdraw his bid for immunity from prosecution removed the last potential obstacle to an indictment in three corruption cases. Four hours later, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed the indictment in Jerusalem, opening the case against the prime minister. (WIN, Jan. 28, 2020)


LATEST POLL: GANTZ 35, BIBI 31, BLOCS STILL AT STALEMATE  (Jerusalem) — According to the survey, conducted by the Kantar Institute, Blue&White will get 35 seats while Likud will get 31. The center-left-Arab bloc will receive 57 seats, the rightwing-Haredi bloc 55, and Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu 8. Liberman takes one seat from Blue&White, compared to last week’s survey results. (Jewish Press, Jan. 23, 2020)


ISRAEL FORCES TERRORISTS TO PAY OVER $1 MILLION IN RESTITUTION TO VICTIMS (Jerusalem) –– Israel will seize funds from eight terrorists as compensation to their victims, which will be collected from the salaries that the Palestinian Authority (PA) transfers to the terrorists every month. The total sum to be foreclosed is about NIS 4.2 million. The legal process began about seven months ago by Israeli authorities and its implementation began Monday after Minister of Justice Amit Ohana ordered the Enforcement and Collection Authority to take action. (United With Israel, Jan. 28, 2020)


NETANYAHU, PUTIN ATTEND DEDICATION OF MEMORIAL TO LENINGRAD’S FALLEN (Jerusalem) — A memorial dedicated to the Russian soldiers who died heroically during the 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad during World War II is being dedicated at Jerusalem’s Sacher Park. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin were in attendance at the event. (WIN, Jan. 23, 2020)


EXPOSED: HAMAS SPY RING OPERATING IN ISRAEL (Gaza Strip) — Israel’s combined security forces have exposed and busted a Hamas espionage network operating inside Israel, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) revealed. The investigation discovered that Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip recruited Israeli citizens who have family in the Gaza Strip for the purpose of gathering military intelligence in Israel to be used for terrorism against Israeli targets. (Jewish Press, Jan. 27, 2020)


HEBZOLLAH CHIEF: “KILL EVERY AMERICAN SOLDIER IN THE MIDDLE EAST” (Beirut) —Nasrallah’s latest combative rhetoric, which was directed at the Americans and their presence in the Middle East, followed the US targeted killing by drone strike of Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds Force.  Calling for “Death to America,” Nasrallah demanded “a just punishment” for Soleimani’s killing. He defined “just punishment” as “harming American bases in the Middle East, including American warships and every soldier and every American officer in the region.” Nasrallah also promised attacks on US embassies.  (BESA, Jan. 23, 2020)


MASKED GUNMEN KILL SOLEIMANI SIDEKICK IN IRAN (Tehran) — Masked gunmen ambushed and killed the local commander of a paramilitary security force in southwestern Iran, an associate of Iran’s top general recently killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad. The slain commander, Abdolhossein Mojaddami, headed the Basij forces, a paramilitary wing of the Revolutionary Guard used for internal security and other tasks, in the town of Darkhoein. He was gunned down in front of his home in the town in the country’s oil rich Khuzestan province. (WIN, Jan. 22, 2020)


GERMANY WARNS OF ‘MASS EXIT’ OF JEWS IF HATRED PERSISTS (Berlin) — Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that Jews could leave Germany on a “massive” scale if urgent action was not taken to stem rising anti-Semitism. Writing in Der Spiegel, Maas said anti-Jewish insults and attacks, in real life and online, had become “a daily occurrence”. Almost one in two Jews has considered leaving Germany, he said, a country that has long taken pains to confront its Nazi past. (Arutz Sheva, Jan. 26, 2020)


NEW ANTISEMITISM SCANDAL IN BELGIUM AS DAILY PAPER PUBLISHES ARTICLE ACCUSING ‘ZIONISTS’ OF ‘PLAYING HOLOCAUST CARD (Brussels) — One of Belgian’s leading newspapers was excoriated by Israel’s ambassador in Brussels for publishing an opinion piece that amounted to what he called “cheap, distorted and devious antisemitism and anti-Israel drivel.” The offending article — in the mass-circulation Flemish-language daily de Standaard — was authored by a Belgian journalist, Johan Depoortere. Titled “How the Zionists ‘Discovered’ the Holocaust,” the article’s appearance was timed to coincide with the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp. (Algemeiner, Jan. 24, 2020)


FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON REBUKED BY TOP JUDICIAL OFFICIALS AFTER URGING TRIAL FOR ANTISEMITIC MURDER OF SARAH HALIMI (Paris) — In a speech to French Jews in Jerusalem, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the widely-condemned Dec. 2019 decision by prosecutors in Paris to excuse the accused killer, 29-year-old Kobili Traore, from a criminal trial. The prosecutors deemed that Traore’s intake of cannabis on the night that he tortured and murdered Sarah Halimi — his 65-year-old Jewish neighbor — had rendered him delusional and, therefore, criminally not responsible for his actions. In his remarks in Israel, Macron appeared to disagree with that ruling. That assertion resulted in stern reminder for Macron of the independent status of the French system of justice from two of its leading representatives. (Algemeiner, Jan. 27, 2020)


STUDENT WEARING ‘ANTISEMITIC’ T-SHIRT OPENS MULTICULTURAL WEEK AT CANADA’S YORK UNIVERSITY (Toronto) — The Multicultural Week Parade at York University was opened by an anti-Israel student wearing an exclusionary slogan on her shirt. The student who conducted the opening ceremony for the York Federation of Students event wore a shirt emblazoned with the phrase, “Anti-Zionist vibes only.” The York Hillel condemned the “antisemitic act” and noted that it was especially disturbing as it took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It demanded an apology from the Federation of Students. (Algemeiner, Jan. 28, 2020)


SCSU BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTES TO REAFFIRM SUPPORT FOR BDS MOVEMENT (Toronto) — After a chaotic Annual General Meeting that left many items on the agenda unaddressed due to a room-booking issue, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) voted to reaffirm its support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel at its January Board of Directors meeting on January 22. (The Varsity, Jan. 26, 2020)


AFTER CONTROVERSIES, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS HOUSING STAFF RECEIVE ANTISEMITISM TRAINING (Chicago) –– Some 1,000 staff and paraprofessionals at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are receiving antisemitism training, following several recent campus controversies. The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) was invited by the university to provide the trainings between January and February to its housing department, which includes dining and facilities staff, resident hall advisors, multicultural advocates and supervisors, according to JUF. (Algemeiner, Jan. 24, 2020)


UNIVERSITIES FACE CUTS IF THEY REJECT ANTISEMITISM DEFINITION (London) — Some colleges and local authorities are refusing to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, which is regarded by campaigners as an essential tool in rooting out anti-Jewish racism, according to Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary. Universities and councils that refuse to adopt an internationally recognised definition of antisemitism are to be named and face having their funding cut. (The Times, Jan. 27, 2020)


PSYCHIATRIST SAYS MONSEY STABBER IS INCOMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL (Rockland County) – A psychiatrist has found Grafton Thomas, 27, incompetent to stand trial on federal hate crime charges stemming from a machete attack at a Hanukkah party that wounded five Hasidic Jews.  Investigators found anti-Semitic writings in Thomas’s journals and articles on Jews and Nazis on his cell phone. Thomas’ mother said Thomas suffers from mental illness and was not responsible for his actions. (NBC News, Jan. 27, 2020)


WARREN, SANDERS HOSTING CALL WITH PRO-TEHRAN LOBBY GROUP (Washington) — Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren spoke with members of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been accused of lobbying on Tehran’s behalf.  NIAC played a central role in what former Obama national security adviser Ben Rhodes called the administration’s pro-Iran Deal “echo chamber,” spinning journalists, lawmakers, and citizens. The Democratic candidates’ willingness to engage with NIAC reflects their desire to see America reenter the nuclear deal, which released up to $150 billion in cash to the regime. (The Washington Free Beacon, Jan. 8, 2020)


RASHIDA TLAIB FAILS TO APOLOGIZE OR CORRECT HER ANTISEMITISM (Washington) — Three days after Rep. Rashida Tlaib once again used her platform to spread hateful misinformation to her nearly 900,000 Twitter followers, the Michigan Democrat has finally issued a statement that fell far short of either an apology or a correction.  Instead of taking the blame or even admitting her error, she merely blamed fake news for a retweet that fulfilled her own prejudiced view of Israeli Jews. On Jan. 25, Tlaib retweeted Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi’s emotional retweet of an accusation, which many have diagnosed as anti-Semitic blood libel, that 8-year-old Palestinian Qais Abu Ramila was kidnapped and killed by Israeli settlers after disappearing from his Beit Hanina, Israel, home on Jan. 24. (Washington Examiner, Jan. 28, 2020)




WATCH:  Holocaust Was Humanity’s ‘Second Original Sin’: Dramatic Speech of Polish Resistance Hero Jan Karski Unearthed: Algemeiner, Jan. 28, 2020 — Footage of one of the most celebrated Polish resistance fighters describing the Holocaust as humanity’s “second original sin” was widely shared this week, as the world marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.


WATCH: Ukraine President Gives up Seats to Survivors at Holocaust Memorial, but Criticized for It:  WIN, Jan. 23, 2020 —Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday that his delegation would give up their seats to Holocaust survivors.