Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” (March 4,2020)

MK Danny Danon (Source: Wikipedia)

“We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel. Anyone who calls our prime minister a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,” – Israel ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told AIPAC attendees. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders broke with the Democrats’ traditionally pro-Israel stance, calling Netanyahu a “racist” and hinting at using US aid to Israel in order to force the Israeli government into concessions to the Palestinians.  (Algemeiner, Mar. 1, 2020)

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

The victory is even sweeter, because it was against all odds. They already eulogized us. Our opponents said, ‘the Netanyahu era is over.’ But together we flipped the script. We turned lemons to lemonade,” – said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following Likud’s unexpected win over Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party.  (WIN, Mar. 3, 2020)

“Today, the leading candidate for the presidential nomination of the party of Harry Truman openly and repeatedly attacks Israel is a racist state and defames AIPAC is of all things, as he said, a ‘platform for bigotry. Even more troubling, when Bernie Sanders smeared Israel at last week’s debate, not a single candidate on that stage stood up to challenge him, but I’ll promise you we will always call out those who try to cloak their animus toward Israel inside a phony mantle of friendship. … And I say from my heart, we must ensure the most pro-Israel president in history must not be replaced by one who would be the most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation. That’s why we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House,” – Vice President Mike Pence told AIPAC attendees at their annual Policy Conference. (Jewish Journal, Mar. 2, 2020)

“But like the vile ideology that it is, anti-Semitism has changed forms in recent days. No longer does it give vent to hatred of the Jewish religion or hatred of the Jewish people on every occasion; now it often propagates as simply hatred of the State of Israel. So let me be clear about one point: It is the position of the United States government that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism…,” – Vice President Mike Pence told AIPAC attendees.  (Human Rights Voice, Mar. 2, 2020)

“A growing, highly vocal, and energized part of the electorate fundamentally rejects the value of the US-Israel alliance. It is no longer on the margins — but instead has taken the spotlight of our political life. Its most radical views are bending the political conversation and commanding attention. And this movement has national ambitions. The leaders of this movement occasionally seek to mollify us with empty reassurances and hollow affirmations of Israel’s right to live in peace. The leaders of this movement say they support Israel’s right to exist, but that’s not up for debate. Israel exists, and it doesn’t take a true friend to support that,” – AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr told attendees at the high-profile annual Policy Conference.  (Algemeiner, Mar. 1, 2020)

“Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Democrats in this race have attended an AIPAC conference. One of them, Senator Sanders, has spent 30 years boycotting this event. And as you’ve heard by now, he called AIPAC a racist platform. Well let me tell you, he’s dead wrong,” – Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor Mike Bloomberg told AIPAC attendees.  (Fox News, Mar. 2, 2020)

“Just a few days ago, the press and pundits said this campaign was dead. We were told when it came to Super Tuesday, it’d be over. I’m here to report we are very much alive. Well, it might be over for the other guy,” — former vice president Joe Biden said following his impressive Super Tuesday wins.  His greatest support appears to have come from Blacks and educated white women.  (Washington Examiner, Mar. 3, 2020)

“Henry Kissinger’s famous line on the Iran/Iraq war was that it’s a shame they can’t both lose. In Tuesday night’s primary debate they somehow contrived for everyone to lose, including both the Democrat Party and the media. It reached its peak of perfection early on when all seven candidates began shrieking over each other and, as with some hideous atonal aleatoric modernist cacophonous symphony, it’s very unlistenability seemed an impressive feat of organization,” –wrote political columnist Mark Steyn commenting on the South Carolina Democratic Party debate.  (Quotulatiousness, Feb. 27, 2020)




NETANYAHU’S BLOC LIKELY TO STAY AT 58 SEATS (Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc of right-wing and religious parties will remain at the 58 seats in the current vote count, three away from obtaining a blocking majority in the next Knesset, sources in the Central Elections Committee said.  An announcement of nearly final yet unofficial results of Monday’s election will be made on Wednesday evening between 7 and 8. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 4, 2020)


NETANYAHU AT AIPAC: SANDERS CRITICISM ‘OUTRAGEOUS’; PLEDGES TO ANNEX PARTS OF WEST BANK WITH AMERICAN SUPPORT (Jerusalem) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a pointed response to statements made by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders attacking the American pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, calling them “outrageous” and “libelous charges.” In a Feb. 24 tweet, Sanders said he would not attend AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference held this week because of “the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 2, 2020)


POMPEO VOWS TO FIGHT UN BLACKLIST (Washington) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced during Monday’s AIPAC conference that he will not hold back from helping U.S. companies conducting business in Judea and Samaria, who have found themselves on the UN Human Rights Council’s blacklist. According to Pompeo, all the UN blacklist does is strengthen the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Notable U.S-based companies that conduct business in Judea and Samaria include Motorola, Airbnb, Trip Advisor, Expedia, and General Mills. (WIN, Mar. 3 ,2020)

NEW POLL: CLEAR MAJORITY OF US JEWS WOULD BACK ANY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE AGAINST TRUMP (Washington) –– A new poll of American Jewish voting intentions in November’s elections contained confirmed that a large majority of US Jews disapproved of President Donald Trump’s administration and planned to support whoever the Democratic Party’s candidate ended up being. Conducted by the non-partisan Jewish Electorate Institute (JEI), the poll surveyed 1,001 self-identifying Jewish voters by telephone from Feb. 18-24. (Algemeiner, Feb. 28, 2020)

FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: BIDEN NOW TWICE AS LIKELY AS SANDERS TO WIN MOST DELEGATES OVERALL (NYC) — There’s been a wild swing in the FiveThirtyEight model that estimates the chances of each candidate’s having the most delegates heading into the Democratic National Convention. Just seven days ago, the Democratic candidates’ chances of winning a plurality of delegates were: Sanders 70 percent, Biden 18 percent, Bloomberg 9 percent. But the odds of winning a plurality of delegates have dramatically flipped following Biden’s 28-point victory in South Carolina, a fresh round of polling, and the endorsements of Biden by Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Democratic candidates’ chances of winning the most delegates are now Biden 65 percent, Sanders 34 percent, and Bloomberg 0.9 percent. (National Review, Mar. 3, 2020)


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG QUITS DEMOCRATIC RACE, ENDING A BRIEF AND COSTLY BID (Washington) — Michael R. Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race on Wednesday, just over three months after he began a campaign that was fueled by his vast fortune and quickly grew to a sprawling political operation but failed to win the groundswell of moderate support he had sought. Mr. Bloomberg endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., saying that he had the best shot to beat President Trump. After staking his candidacy on doing well on Super Tuesday, he did not collect on his grand bet, winning only American Samoa. (NYTimes, Mar. 4, 2020)


FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS HILLARY CLINTON DEPOSITION OVER PRIVATE EMAILS; ‘STILL MORE TO LEARN (Washington) — A federal judge has ordered former Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to sit for a sworn deposition in order to answer more questions regarding her use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. D.C. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth granted a request from conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, arguing that her past statements on the matter were insufficient. (PJ Media, Mar. 2, 2020)


NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION (Philadelphia) — The museum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, seeking relief from what museum officials characterize as a crushing debt burden incurred by construction of its home on Independence Mall a decade ago .In papers filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia, the museum said that it owed a little more than $30 million to bondholders and about $500,000 to unsecured creditors. Officials said that the bankruptcy proceedings would not affect museum operations or staffing. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 2, 2020)


SERBIA WILL OPEN DIPLOMATIC MISSION IN JERUSALEM, PRESIDENT SAYS (Belgrade) — Speaking at AIPAC’s 2020 conference, President Aleksandar  Vučić said that Serbia will open a Chamber of Commerce office in Israel’s capital which will be followed by a diplomatic office. Vučić is considered a friend of Israel and visited the Jewish state in December 2014 while serving as prime minister. (United With Israel, Mar. 2, 2020)


SERBIAN MPS VOTE FOR NEW HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN BELGRADE (Belgrade) — A total of 159 out of 250 MPs in the Serbian parliament voted for the establishment of a memorial center at the Staro Sajmiste (Old Trade Fair) site to remember those killed at the Nazi concentration camp in the country’s occupied capital of Belgrade during World War II. Under the legislation, the memorial center will collect and exhibit material from museums and archives. (Algemeiner, Feb. 28, 2020)


DOCUMENT IN NEWLY-OPENED VATICAN WW2 ARCHIVE REVEALS POPE PIUS XII’S ANXIETY OVER MEDIA REPORTING OF HOLOCAUST RESCUE EFFORTS (Vatican City) — Wartime Pope Pius XII expressed unease when Vatican efforts to intercede with the Nazi German occupiers on behalf of Italian Jews facing deportation were reported in the press in October 1943, out of the fear that public exposure would hamper similar initiatives to save Jews. The revelation was highlighted by several Italian media outlets, as the Vatican opened the secret archives of Pius XII — the Italian cardinal Eugenio Pacelli who became pope in 1939, on the eve of World War II and the Nazi Holocaust. (Algemeiner, Mar. 2, 2020)


LIST FOUND OF 12,000 NAZIS IN ARGENTINA WITH MONEY IN SWISS BANK (Buenos Aires) — An investigation by Argentine investigator Pedro Filipuzzi revealed a list of 12,000 Nazis in Argentina that apparently have money in accounts at the Zurich-based Credit Suisse investment bank. The list, which Filipuzzi gave to Simon Wiesenthal Center’s international relations director Dr. Shimon Samuels and Latin America director Dr. Ariel Gelblung, was found in an old storage room at the former Buenos Aires Nazi headquarters(Jerusalem Post, Mar. 4, 2020)


GROUP OF UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PROFESSORS CALL ON ADMINISTRATION TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST ANTISEMITISM ON CAMPUS (Toronto) — A committee of University of Toronto professors led by Professors Howard Tenenbaum, Stuart Kamenetsky, Carole Gruson and Michael Glogauer is urging all faculty members to sign a letter demanding that the administration take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. In the letter, the professors called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.(Algemeiner, Feb. 28, 2020)


ANTI-CIRCUMCISION ACTIVISTS FLOOD NEW YORK TIMES COMMENTS SECTION (NYC) — Anti-circumcision activists have pounced on a New York Times feature article about female mohels, flocking to the comments section to describe Jewish ritual circumcision as “barbaric,” “primitive,” “child abuse,” and “mutilation.” The Times awarded its gold medal “Times Pick” stamp to 12 of the 428 comments received about the article. Six of those 12 comments were hostile to the practice. (Algemeiner, Mar. 1, 2020)


FOX NEWS HITS ALL-TIME PRIME-TIME RATINGS HIGH (NYC) — Fox News broke records in February, averaging 3.53 million total viewers in prime time — the highest ratings in its 23-year history. It was also its 44th consecutive month that it was the most-watched channel on basic cable. The channel steamrolled its news competitors, with MSNBC averaging 1.78 million and CNN hitting 1.05 million.  (NY Post, Feb. 25, 2020)

VIRUS RAVAGING IRAN KILLS CONFIDANT OF ITS SUPREME LEADER (Tehran) –– A member of a council that advises Iran’s supreme leader died Monday from the new coronavirus, becoming the highest-ranking official within the Islamic Republic’s Shiite theocracy to be killed by the illness ravaging the country. The death of Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi came as Iran announced the virus had killed at least 66 people among 1,501 confirmed cases. There are now 1,700 cases of the new coronavirus across the Mideast. (AP, Mar. 2, 2020)


YESHIVA UNIVERSITY TAKES INSANE WINNING STREAK INTO NCAAs (NYC) — The top-seeded Maccabees men’s basketball team defeated No. 2 Purchase, 86-74, in the Skyline Conference final at the Max Stern Athletic Center. The victory gave Yeshiva University, which has its main campus in Washington Heights, its 27th straight win, having not lost since its opener, for the most victories among Division III teams this season. Their 27-game winning streak and their total wins are school records for a team currently ranked No. 13 in the country by D3Hoops.com.  The Maccabees (27-1) will find out who they play in the NCAA Tournament on Monday afternoon. (Algemeiner, Mar. 2, 2020)


FOR FIRST TIME, KILLER WHALE SPOTTED OF ISRAEL’S MEDITERRANEAN Coast (Acre) — A fisherman initially saw the mammal from Shavei Zion beach in northern Israel and alerted the Nature and Parks Authority.  The killer whale was later observed in 15-meter deep water around 1.4 miles from the ancient port city of Acre. (Algemeiner, Feb. 28, 2020)


WATCH: Sanders Praises the Dictators, Trashes the Israelis WIN, Feb. 29, 2020 — Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders has praised Cuba, Nicaragua’s Sandinistas and the Former Soviet Union, he’s quick to unload on Israel as he seeks the 2020 nomination.

At AIPAC, Trump’s Israel Envoy Takes Aim at Democrats, Pushes Peace Plan:  Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, Mar. 3, 2020 —  US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gave a scathing and highly partisan speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference on Monday night, castigating the American left for opposing US President Donald Trump’s Israel policies and Mideast peace plan.


AIPAC It Up, Mike:  Armin Rosen, Tablet, Mar. 3, 2020 –The news came down in the late afternoon, sending shockwaves, or at least a moment or two of amused distraction, through my near-deserted row of the AIPAC conference press box. Dateline: Pago Pago.