Daily Briefing: Wednesday’s ” News Of the Week In Review (May 22, 2019)

Tel Aviv Beach (Soure: pixabay)


The Barring of Eurovision from Jerusalem Is a Win for the BDS Movement: Shay Attias, Jewish Press, May 20, 2019 — The refusal of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to allow the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to take place in Jerusalem shone a light on the gap that remains between Israel and Europe despite their natural affinity.
Burying Herman Wouk and Burying His Zionism:  Moshe Phillips, Isranet, May 22, 2019 — Herman Wouk, the famed novelist who became a household name subsequent to his 1951 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Caine Mutiny died last week nearly 70 years after achieving international fame. Besides his long career as a writer, he was also a lifelong Zionist.
NASCAR Star Alon Day Discusses Unique Role of Being an Israeli Sports Ambassador To The World:  Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News, May 21, 2019 — Israel isn’t known for race car drivers, even though some Israelis might drive just like them on the streets.

WATCH: Israel’s Special-Needs Shalva Band Wows Eurovision:  United with Israel, May 21, 2019 — Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, is dedicated to providing transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion. 


Shay Attias
Jewish Press, May 20, 2019
The refusal of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to allow the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to take place in Jerusalem shone a light on the gap that remains between Israel and Europe despite their natural affinity.
Following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, the EU has led global opposition to Israel’s sovereignty. Israel is an associated state of the EU, yet its capital – alone among the capitals of all other countries – has never been acknowledged by Europe or, indeed, by most of the world’s states. The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Israel this weekend, is thus underpinned with years of tension and suspicion.
Despite the fact that Israel has won the contest four times and hosted the competition in Jerusalem twice (in 1979 and 1999), Europe decided that this year it would not tolerate Jerusalem’s hosting of the contest. Israel won Eurovision last year, and according to the event’s protocol, the capital city of the winning country hosts the contest the following year. No matter: Israel’s claim to host the contest in Jerusalem, which would have been in accordance with the contest’s own rules, was rejected.
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest has generated a clash for Israel not only with the EU but also with the BDS movement. Ever since 2005, Israel has been systematically demonized, delegitimized, and boycotted by BDS, a non-governmental movement founded by civilians for the express purpose of fighting Israel. While it employs non-violent tools of soft power to accomplish this mission, those tools are capable of generating waves of violence. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK– Ed.]




“In order to… strengthen Israel’s security, we urge you to…ensure that Israel has access to the resources and material it needs to defend itself against the threats it faces on its northern border. … America must continue economic and diplomatic efforts to counter Iran’s support for Hizbullah and other terrorist groups.” — Nearly 400 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter to President Trump on Monday calling to assist “our ally, Israel, in defending itself in the face of growing threats.” (Congress of the U.S., May 20, 2019)
“I would say to the Iranians: Do not underestimate the resolve on the US side. They don’t want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians needs to think about very, very carefully.” — Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign Secretary, sent a warning to Tehran during the World Health Assembly in Geneva. His message comes just hours after President Trump vowed to “officially end” Iran if US interests were attacked. That followed Saudi Arabia oil assets being sabotaged by Houthi rebels, in offensives Washington claims were instructed by Tehran. (Express, May 20, 2019)
“We have put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans [by Iran or its allies.] I just hope Iran is listening. We’re in the region to address many things but it is not to go to a war with Iran… There haven’t been any attacks on Americans. I would consider that a hold,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that the threats that we’ve previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region.”— Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan Tuesday crediting the deployment of US military weaponry with preventing potential attacks by Iran or its proxies in the Middle East. (Israel National News, May 22, 2019)
“On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said drones attacked one of its oil pipelines as other assaults targeted energy infrastructure elsewhere in the kingdom.  And in response to media reports that he was about to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event of hostilities, US President Donald Trump described it as “fake news” before adding, “If we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.” – Ilya Arkhipov and Nick Wadhams writing on the talks between the US and Russia in Sochi.   (National Post, May 15, 2019)
“It’s difficult to understand why the Palestinian Authority would reject a workshop designed to discuss a vision with the potential to radically transform lives and put people on a path toward a brighter future. Palestinians deserve dignity, opportunity and a better way of life. Also, by encouraging Palestinians to reject the workshop, the PA is shamefully trying to block their path toward a better future. History will judge the Palestinian Authority harshly for passing up an opportunity that could give the Palestinians something so very different, and something so very positive, compared to what they have today.” — Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations, expressed his frustration at the Palestinian reaction to the economic workshop in Bahrain next month, in which the administration is set to reveal the financial part of its peace plan. (Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2019)
“Palestinians today don’t need a Nelson Mandela who can lead the struggle for equal political rights in one state. They need a Konrad Adenauer: a leader who can accept military defeat and painful territorial losses while building a prosperous future through reconciliation with the victors … A new generation, instead of following its elders down the rabbit hole of eternally futile resistance, could instead work toward competent governance, and ultimately reconciliation and renewal.” – Walter Russell Mead analyzing the realism necessary for Palestinians to have to move towards a brighter future.  (WSJ, May 20, 2019)
“The Anti- “Pay for Slay” Law reflects Israel’s rude awakening from the intentional blindness guiding its policies up to now, a step towards beginning to operate according to policies based on reality. Only this kind of policy, as elucidated by US government spokesmen, can form the basis for a process leading to a final status agreement.” – Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser argues that Israel benefits less from cooperation with the PA when measured against the PA’s incitement to terror.  (Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, May 18, 2019)
“Eurovision is a pause, from all that divides us, day in, day out, to search out and celebrate what may bind us. A much-needed time-out.” – former Canadian ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici writing on Eurovision as a respite from conflict and strife.  (National Post, May 21, 2019)
“The pattern of argument and methods of the B.D.S. movement are antisemitic.” – A symbolic resolution passed by the German Parliament that designates the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or B.D.S movement against Israel as antisemitic.  The resolution vows not to fund any organizations that question Israel’s right to exist and call for a boycott of Israel or actively support BDS.  Germany became the first country in the European Union to pass such a resolution. The nonbinding resolution noted that the campaign to boycott Israeli products, along with the movement’s “Don’t Buy” stickers, recalled “the most terrible chapter in German history” and revived memories of the Nazi motto“Don’t buy from Jews.” (NYT, May 17, 2019)
“That the House recognize Vice-Admiral Mark Norman for his decades of loyal service to Canada, express regret for the personal and professional hardships he endured as a result of his failed prosecution, and apologize to him and his family for what they experienced during their legal conflict with the government.” — Members of Parliament unanimously passed a motion to recognize the decades of military service by Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and apologize to him and his family for the experience of the criminal case that ended last week. Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance suspended Norman from military duties in January 2017 after the RCMP revealed Norman was under investigation for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets. At the time, Norman was Vance’s second-in-command. (National Post, May 14, 2019)




POLISH PRIME MINISTER: REPARATIONS FOR JEWISH PROPERTY STOLEN DURING THE HOLOCAUST WOULD BE ‘VICTORY FOR HITLER’ (Lodz) – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has declared that calling on Poland to pay compensation for World War II “violates international law and would also be a posthumous victory for Hitler.”  He made these comments at a campaign rally in the city of Lodz, which was home to the second-largest Jewish ghetto under Nazi rule. (Algemeiner, May 19, 2019)

WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES ‘ECONOMIC WORKSHOP’ IN BAHRAIN AS FIRST STAGE OF MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN (Washington) – The Trump administration has announced plans to host a regional “economic workshop” as the first stage of its much-anticipated Middle East peace plan. Commenting on the announcement, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner told CNN that “people are letting their grandfathers’ conflict destroy their children’s futures. This will present an exciting, realistic and viable pathway forward that does not currently exist.” Another “senior administration official” told the network that the effort will attempt to improve the economies of the West Bank and Gaza. (Algemeiner, May 19, 2019)

‘GIVE PEACE A CHANCE’: SAUDI PAPER URGES PALESTINIANS TO CONSIDER TRUMP PLAN (Riyadh) — Arab News editor-in-chief Faisal J. Abbas wrote in his publication that U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” Middle East peace plan may reverse course for the Palestinians in a positive way and make peace more possible. (WIN, May 15, 2019)

FRIEDMAN FIRES BACK AT NY TIMES: ‘WHERE AM I OFF IN SAYING GOD IS ON THE SIDE OF ISRAEL?(Jerusalem) — Speaking to a group of evangelical faith leaders at the Aish Hatorah World Center, Friedman said that, “apparently, there was nothing more offensive I could have said to The New York Times.” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman fired back at the progressive-leaning newspaper over an article castigating him for claiming that Israel was “on the side of God” while speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the upcoming U.S. peace proposal. (WIN, May 16, 2019)

ISRAEL SWEEPS SNIPER COMPETITION (Jerusalem) — Israeli elite forces held a sniper competition with 25 teams from allied countries last week, taking the three top spots in an event that tested and honed their specialized skills. Participants included commando units from 14 countries, such as the United States, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Cyprus, and others. (WIN, May 21, 2019)

ISRAELI AID GROUP DELIVERING URGENT AID TO VENEZUELAN REFUGEES (Columbia-Venezuela border) — On Monday, Maduro proposed early elections for the National Assembly, which is headed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, and is the sole body recognized as democratically legitimate by most Western nations. The opposition won a majority in the National Assembly in 2015 and new elections are scheduled for late 2020. Maduro is gradually losing support among the military, which at first completely backed him. The IsraAID humanitarian aid agency has dispatched an emergency response team to the city of Cúcuta, on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, where displacement is growing day by day. (Jewish Press, May 21, 2019)

IMMUNITY BILL SUBMITTED TO KNESSET APPROVAL, WILL DETERMINE NETANYAHU’S POLITICAL FUTURE (Jerusalem) — MK Mickey Zohar (Likud) submitted a bill to amend the immunity law, which is expected to ultimately allow Prime Minister Netanyahu—who faces an indictment subject to a hearing—to postpone the legal proceedings against him to the end of his term, which has already eclipsed all his predecessors on the throne save for David Ben Gurion – who should be passed by this coming July. (Jewish Press, May 21, 2019)

FEARING A PENDING COLLAPSE, ISRAEL APPROVES THE TRANSFER OF ARMORED VEHICLES TO PA (Jordan) — Jordan has transferred 10 armored vehicles to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces, with Israel’s approval, the first such transfer in years. The combat vehicles are bulletproof and have already entered use in the Hebron area. Others were stationed in Ramallah and in Shechem (Nablus). Following the volatile and deteriorating security situation in the PA, Israel has approved the entry of 10 combat trucks. (Jewish Press, May 21, 2019)

WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE U WON’T SANCTION STUDENT CALLING TO GAS THE JEWS (Milwaukee) – The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will not take steps in a high-profile incident of hate speech on May 6, when a student displayed a poster with a Nazi swastika and called for “gassing the Jews” during an Israel Independence Day event on campus. The student, Kristian Gresham, 26, was not arrested, and UW-Milwaukee issued two statements condemning Gresham’s behavior as deplorable but pointing out it was protected by the First Amendment. An online petition calling to expel Gresham has so far received 1,033 signatures out of the 1,500 sought. (Jewish Press, May 21, 2019)

CHICAGO POLICE INCREASE PRESENCE AT JEWISH INSTITUTIONS FOLLOWING MOLOTOV COCKTAILS (Chicago) – Members of the Lakeview East synagogue saw broken glass on their way to prayer services but did not report it. But later the same Sunday morning, according to Rabbi David Wolkenfeld of the Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, they discovered singed fabric next to the glass and realized someone had tried to burn down their synagogue. The synagogue shares a yard with the Florence G. Heller Jewish Community Center, which runs a day care center and a preschool. Chicago police are searching for a suspect who allegedly attempted to set fire to Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in the Lakeview neighborhood. (Jewish Press, May 21, 2019)

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION IN THE UNITED STATES: ESTIMATING THE NUMBER OF GIRLS AT RISK (U.S.) – The World Health Organization confirmed that this extremely painful procedure renders absolutely no health benefit and, on the contrary, harms its victims beyond measure and violates their human rights (World Health Organization, 2018). This practice is common in Africa, the Muslim Middle East, and increasingly in the Muslim Far East (Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, 2019; Kine, 2016). (Middle East Forum, May 15, 2019)

WORD CRIMES: LEFT-WING ISRAEL STUDIES FACULTY TRY TO SILENCE SCHOLARS DEEMED TOO PRO-ISRAEL (U.S.) — A fierce backlash was perhaps all but inevitable when a recently published special issue of the academic journal Israel Studies provided a powerful counterpoint to the incessant delegitimization of the world’s only Jewish state. Under the title “Word Crimes: Reclaiming the Language of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” the volume (co-edited by Legal Insurrection contributor Professor Miriam Elman) examines the “academic jargon draped in scholarly prestige” that is used to imply “that Israel’s founding in 1948 is not settled history” but rather a “historical wrong” that can and should be righted according to Palestinian demands. (Legal Insurrection, May 2, 2019)

HAMAS’S CASH COW ARRIVES IN GAZA (Gaza Strip) — Qatar’s envoy, Muhammad al Emadi, together with a large delegation is in Gaza to coordinate distribution of 30 million dollars to Hamas to be used for rehabilitating the area.  Gazans are already lining up at local post offices in anticipation of receiving their shares. It is not clear if he brought with him the cash in hand, as he did in the past, or if he wired it through an Israeli approved bank transfer. The funds are expected to be divvied out in $100 increments. (JOL, May 14, 2019)

POLAND CANCELS ISRAELI DELEGATION’S VISIT TO DISCUSS HOLOCAUST REPARATIONS (Warsaw) – Poland’s Foreign Ministry announced that it was canceling the visit of a senior Israeli delegation to Warsaw to discuss Holocaust reparations. The ministry said that it had made the decision after “Israel made last-minute changes in the composition of the delegation, indicating that the talks will focus mainly on issues related to the return of Jewish property during the Holocaust.” (WIN, May 13, 2019)

ANTI-NAZI RESISTANCE FIGHTERS’ REMAINS LAID TO REST (Berlin) –The remains of some 300 Nazi resistance fighters, executed for standing up to Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship, have been buried in Berlin. Anatomy professor Hermann Stieve used the bodies for research during the war. (DW, May 13, 2019)

GERMAN HOLOCAUST ARCHIVE PUTS OVER 13 MILLION DOCUMENTS ONLINE (Berlin) — he International Tracing Service in Germany has uploaded more than 13 million documents from Nazi concentration camps, including prisoner cards and death notices, to help Holocaust researchers and others investigate the fate of victims. Established by the Western Allies in the final days of World War II and initially run by the Red Cross, the ITS also announced it was changing its name to “Arolsen Archives – International Center on Nazi Persecution.” (Times of Israel, May 21, 2019)

POLL SHOWS SPLIT OVER TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS (Canada) — A Nanos poll, commissioned by The Globe and Mail, found that 48 percent of Canadians think asylum seekers who have not already made a claim in the U.S. should be given access to a full hearing, while 33 percent said they should be refused entry and returned to their country of origin, and 13 percent said they should be given a shorter claim process; 6 percent said they were unsure. Thirty-six percent of Canadians said those asylum seekers should be given a full refugee hearing, while nearly just as many respondents – 34 percent – said they should be refused entry entirely; 20 percent said they should be given access to a shorter process and 11 percent were unsure. (Globe and Mail, May 14, 2019)

NEW CITIZEN LAB REPORT SUGGESTS IRAN SPREADS FAKE NEWS (Toronto) — In a 43-page report, the researchers at the University of Toronto Lab, which studies how the internet affects human rights and security, describes the development of this disinformation group, which they dubbed “Endless Mayfly.” In 2016, a hoax article about a former spymaster got traction in Russia after it was published on a copycat site resembling that of Britain’s Guardian newspaper. According to the Citizen Lab, a group likely from Iran is behind all of these campaigns and it has a signature technique. (Globe and Mail, May 14, 2019)