Daily Briefing: Wednesday’s News of the Week in Review (July 24,2019)

Ilhan Omar speaking at worker protest against Amazon (Source: Flickr)


                                       WEEKLY QUOTES


“The squad … are not interested in compromise or brokerage politics.  They’re interested in opposition.  They are under the illusion that the white vote is increasingly unnecessary because the Democratic Party can be sustained by a coalition of minorities, all of whom presumably think alike.  Many of their ideas are so far from the mainstream that they might as well have come from Mars.  And the more influence they wield, the more likely it is t hat the next election will be the most stunning defeat for Democrats since George McGovern went down in 1972.” – Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente responding to the verbal conflict between the four far-left Democratic Congresswomen who call themselves the “squad,” and President Trump.  (Globe and Mail, July 20, 2019)


“People of very different nationalities have contributed to the strength of the American people.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  She added that the president’s comments “very much run counter to this firm impression that I have.” Pressed on whether she supported the four congresswomen — Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — the chancellor said, “Yes,” adding that she “feels solidarity” with the “women who were attacked.” (NYT, July 19, 2019)


“Antifa is a terrorist organization composed of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their extreme agenda through aggressive violence. Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their central purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views.” – Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted, after unveiling a resolution he  introduced together with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La) designating Antifa, a loose organization of anti-fascist groups, a domestic terrorist organization, adding: “Like any terrorist organization, they choose to pursue their political ends through violence, fear & intimidation. They must be stopped.” (Newsmax, July 23, 2019)


“Victory will not be achieved without resistance and struggle and, based on a definite divine promise, we believe that the issue of Palestine will surely end in favor of the Palestinian people and the Islamic world. The Islamic Republic of Iran does not stand on ceremony with any country in the world when it comes to Palestine. We have always expressed our views on Palestine clearly and transparently.” — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a delegation of Hamas leaders who met with him. (Jewish Press, July 22, 2019)


 “I understand this plague [of nationalism], because I got sick from it. … I was a Soviet child raised on the ideals of this empire. You have to go through it, to study it and get over it, and acquire immunity once and for all from all such terrible ideas.” —  Aleksandr G. Nevzorov, the star of a Soviet news show called “600 Seconds” in an interview conducted shortly after he finished giving his polemical take on Mr. Putin’s Russia — a weekly event — to a paying audience in the conference room of a luxury hotel in St. Petersburg, his hometown. (NYT, July 19, 2019)


“It’s starting to look like Democrats have been drawn into the reality TV genre that President Donald Trump, who first entered most homes as a character on “The Apprentice,” started spreading in American politics.” – Journalist Reid J. Epstein writes regarding what it takes to get ahead as a Democratic presidential candidate.  “The Democratic presidential candidates are taking part in the latest installment of a storied tradition of American politics: They are aiming to outwit, outplay and outlast a field of rivals in a campaign so far defined partly by its theatrics and big moments.” (NYT, July 19, 2019)


“You have made us so proud, what a wonderful team you are.” – Israeli President Rivlin said to the young players from the Israeli under-20 basketball team who showed up at his residence with coach Ariel Beit-Halahmi, and the coaching staff to celebrate their victory in the FIBA U20 European Championship for the second time running. They were joined by the Israel Basketball Association’s professional manager Pini Gershon and its chairman Amiram Halevy. (Jewish Press, July 23, 2019)





ALLEGATIONS ABOUND REGARDING FRESHMAN CONGRESSWOMAN’S ALLEGED SHAM MARRIAGE (Washington) – Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) has come under fire regarding her alleged sham marriage to her alleged brother Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a UK citizen.  According to David Steinberg, Powerline investigative reporter and former editor of PJ Media, Omar is not the Congresswoman’s real name; rather its Elmi.  The 12-year-old Ilhan entered the US fraudulently in 1995 as a member of the “Omar” family, which is not her biological family, according to Steinberg.  He further alleges that in 2009, Ilhan and Ahmed married, “presumably to benefit in some way from a fraudulent marriage. They did not divorce until 2017.”  Meanwhile, media outlets scrambled to prove false this latter accusation after President Donald Trump mentioned it at a rally. None have been able to definitively reach an answer, largely due to Omar’s unwillingness to provide information.  (Powerline, July 18, 2019; Washington Free Beacon, July 22, 2019)


ISRAEL: IRAN SMUGGLING DUAL-USE ITEMS FOR HEZBOLLAH ARMS BY SEA INTO BEIRUT PORT (Jerusalem) – Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations accused Iran of exploiting civilian companies and maritime channels to smuggle weapons manufacturing equipment to its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah. In the quarterly meeting on the Middle East, the ambassador told the Security Council that Israeli intelligence uncovered evidence showing Iran’s Quds Force has used the port of Beirut to ship items to the terror group since last year. “In the years 2018-2019, Israel found that dual-use items are smuggled into Lebanon to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities,” he said. (Times of Israel, July 23, 2019)


IRAN TANKER CRISIS: JEREMY HUNT ANNOUNCES JOINT EUROPEAN TASK FORCE TO PROTECT BRITISH SHIPS (London) — The UK will seek to organise a European-led naval contingent for the Gulf to escort ships following an “act of state piracy” by Iran in seizing a British tanker. Jeremy Hunt told the Commons that discussions took place with several allied states in the last 48 hours on the forming of a protection force with further talks to be held later this week. (Independent, July 22, 2019)


PERSIAN PUZZLE FOR OIL PRICES (Washington) — The crude market’s reaction—continued steady price declines—illustrates the market’s focus on tepid demand and robust supply from other regions. The International Energy Agency is revising its demand-growth forecasts as trade tensions and slower Chinese economic growth take a toll. IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the agency will lower its demand-growth forecast for 2019 to 1.1 million barrels a day from the 1.2 million barrel forecast it made only last month and its original 1.5 million barrel forecast. Meanwhile, U.S. production isn’t missing a beat. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reiterated in its most recent short-term outlook that the U.S. will become a net exporter of crude sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Average daily production is seen rising to 12.4 million barrels in 2019 from last year’s record 11 million barrels a day. In other words, U.S. supply growth alone will exceed global demand growth. (WSJ, July 19, 2019)


AMERICANS DEPLOY TO SAUDI BASE ONCE AGAIN IN RESPONSE TO IRAN (Saudi Arabia) — The Pentagon is sending hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia as part of a buildup to counter potential threats from Iran and its allies, U.S. officials said, marking a U.S. return to the kingdom after its 2003 withdrawal. U.S. forces will again be stationed at the Prince Sultan Air Base, which had been closed to the American military since the fall of Baghdad following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. (WSJ, July 18, 2019)


U.S. DOWNED IRANIAN DRONE WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY (Strait of Hormuz) — The counter drone system, known as the Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or MADIS, was developed after officials recognized in 2015 that enemy drones posed an increasing threat to U.S. Marines around the world. And while most military systems take years to develop, the MADIS represents a hodgepodge of other systems that officials have said would have to be routinely updated to keep up with the fast-paced changes in drone technology. (WSJ, June 19, 2019)


U.S. SANCTIONS IRAQI MILITIA LEADERS, FORMER GOVERNORS(Washington) –The Trump administration said militia leaders Waad Qado and Rayan al-Kildani abused and extorted Iraqis who were returning to their homes in the Nineveh Plain in the country’s northwest in recent years, following U.S. and Iraqi efforts to force Islamic State out of the region. More than 150,000 Christians were forced to flee, many in the Nineveh Plain, as Islamic State took over in 2014 and terrorized large swaths of Iraq. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned the former Iraqi governors for allegedly stealing state funds. (WSJ, July 18, 2019)


TENT CITY ON VANCOUVER’S DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE OLD HEADACHE FOR THE NEW MAYOR (Vancouver) — Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park has turned, once again, into a flashpoint for the homelessness crisis in the city as it reaches critical mass. The numbers have spiked higher this year, which some say is a combination of several Downtown Eastside hotels being shut down, along with the continuing loss of cheap rentals in the area as they get spruced up and marketed to desperate younger people trying to rent in the city. The debate is growing over what to do about this stark demonstration of the city’s homelessness problem, which was tallied at about 2,200 people during a one-day count this spring. About 600 of those people were living on the streets; the rest were in shelters. (Globe and Mail, July 21, 2019)


SUICIDE BOMBING AT UNIVERSITY KILLS 10 AS VIOLENCE SURGES IN AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) — As law students waited outside Kabul University to take fourth-year exams, a suicide bomber drove up and detonated an explosive device, killing 10 people and wounding 33. The bombing was the latest in an aggressive series of attacks by insurgents in the 10 days since American and Taliban negotiators suspended peace talks in Doha, Qatar, that were aimed at reaching a political settlement and a cease-fire in the 18-year-old war. (NYT, July 19, 2019)


BAIS YAAKOV GRADUATE TO HEAD AMERICA’S NSA CYBERSECURITY DIRECTORATE (Washington) — Anne Neuberger was just appointed to head the new Cybersecurity Directorate being created at the U.S. National Security Agency. Neuberger helped establish the U.S. Cyber Command, having been with the NSA for nearly a decade. The Sabbath-observant graduate of the Bais Yaakov school system has just become one of the highest-ranking women in the U.S. Department of Defense. (Jewish Press, July 24, 2019)


US-ISRAEL ENERGY CENTER TO DEVELOP, DEPLOY CRITICAL ‘ENERGY-WATER NEXUS’ TECHNOLOGIES (Tel Aviv) — The U.S. and Israel announced the establishment of the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water Technology, designed to “accelerate development and deployment of critical and innovative technologies in the areas of (1) fossil fuels, (2) energy storage, (3) cyber security for energy infrastructure and (4) energy-water nexus.” Dubbed the “Energy Center,” the project, which focuses on energy and water technologies, is to be managed by the BIRD Foundation. (Jewish Press, July 22, 2019)


IGNORING, EXCUSING, ENABLING: SORBONNE SCHOLAR PROBES FRENCH MEDIA’S ATTITUDE ON RISING ANTISEMITISM(Paris) — The media’s attitude stems from an ideologically-rooted refusal to recognize that antisemitism within the Muslim community is a grim reality, according to Yana Grinshpun — an antisemitism scholar at the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris. Grinshpun gave a paper on the French media’s attitude to antisemitism at a major conference in Berlin last month that was co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) at Indiana University. In her talk, she quoted a telling observation made by Mohamed Merah — the Islamist gunman who murdered three French soldiers, three Jewish children, and a Jewish teacher during a week-long killing spree in March 2012 — during his interrogation. “I knew that if I killed soldiers and Jews, the message would come across,” Merah explained. “Because if I had killed civilians, the French people would say, ‘Here is a madman from Al Qada, just a terrorist, he kills civilians.’”
(Algemeiner, July 19, 2019)



PFPL TERRORIST KHALED BARAKAT WELCOMED TO PODIUM AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (Jerusalem) — Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, expressed his dismay that Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member Khaled Barakat was invited to, and spoke at the European Parliament. Barakat, who also serves in the BDS-promoting NGO “Samidoun”, was invited to the parliament by Spanish MEP Manu Pineda. (Jewish Press, July 22, 2019)


UGANDA, MOSSAD, EXPOSE HEZBOLLAH AGENT INVOLVED IN INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST PLOT (Uganda) — On July 7, a joint security team comprised of Mossad and the local Special Forces Command (SFC) arrested at Entebbe International Airport Lebanese national Hussein Mahmoud Yassin, an undercover Hezbollah agent who has lived and worked in Uganda since 2010, the Kampala Post reported. The Kampala Post cited a source close to the investigation who said the security services may have nipped in the bud a terrorist plot of international proportions. The shocking revelations follow intense interrogations of the suspect by experts from both clandestine agencies. (Jewish Press, July 23, 2019)


IT’S BORIS JOHNSON WITH 66%, CALLS HIMSELF ‘ZIONIST,’ CRITICIZED ‘DISPROPORTIONATE’ GAZA BOMBINGS (London) — Former foreign minister and former mayor of London Boris Johnson was elected by the Conservative party to replace Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister. Johnson defeated his opponent Jeremy Hunt by 92,153 votes to 46,656, giving him 66% of the vote. Turnout was very high: 87.4% among the 159,320 party members. Johnson is expected to take office Wednesday afternoon. (Jewish Press, July 23, 2019)


NORWEGIAN PUBLIC BROADCASTER KEEPS ANTISEMITIC ‘JEWISH SWINE’ CARTOON ONLINE DESPITE PROTESTS (Norway) — A grossly antisemitic cartoon recently broadcast on Norway’s public NRK channel was still available online on Monday, despite dozens of complaints from viewers. The cartoon — uploaded to NRK‘s ‘Humor” channel on YouTubeon July 16, where it has received more than 50,000 views — showed an elderly Orthodox Jewish man and  a younger man sitting in a park while playing the word game “Scrabble.” The young man’s seven letters make the word “Jodesvin” — Norwegian for “Jewish swine,” an antisemitic insult — but he is reluctant to play it. Unable to find a different word, the young man is then taunted by the Jewish man for his lack of playing skill. (Algemeiner, July 22, 2019)




House Overwhelmingly Condemns Movement to Boycott Israel:  Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, July 23, 2019 — The House, brushing aside Democratic voices of dissent over American policy in the Middle East, on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott-Israel movement as one that “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”