Daily Briefing: Wednesday’s News of the Week in Review (November 20th, 2019)

Congress passed the procedures of the Impeachment (Source: Wikipedia)

I’m Sorry, Is Impeachment Not Entertaining Enough for You?:  Jennifer Weiner, NYT, Nov. 15, 2019

Fox News had spent the past few weeks priming its viewers to see impeachment as a yawn-a-thon,… There was NBC opining that the hearings “lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention. And there was Reuters with a piece headlined, “Consequential, but dull: Trump impeachment hearings begin without a bang.” …. The desire for politics to entertain was one of the things that gave us President Trump. And now our collective need for amusement could keep him there. … If you’re reading this, you’re not part of the problem. But how do we reach the swayable segment of the population — assuming, as always, that such a thing still exists — and keep its members from changing the channel? Do we need colorful charts? Dramatic re-enactments? Better costumes? A musical version? We could watch the hearings through Snapchat filters — think how much cuter those career diplomats would look with puppy noses! We could use our imaginations: Just mentally add jazz hands to whoever’s currently testifying. We could imagine everything sung in the style of an Ethel Merman number. I’m kidding. Except I’m not. … Because if we keep insisting that impeachment has to entertain us, we’re going to channel-surf our way right out of our democracy.”

Why The Trump Impeachment Hearings Need To Go Beyond Ukraine Sarah Kenzior, Globe and Mail, Nov. 17, 2019

“It is about the Mr. Trump’s ceaseless and brutal effort to eliminate the inconvenient. What he finds inconvenient are the values that sustain democracy: truth, accountability and service to country over party. … Ms. Yovanovitch exemplified those values, and she was fired for them. Her story is the American dream brought to the same nightmare conclusion that America, as whole, faces under the Trump administration. … There is nowhere for Ms. Yovanovitch to go. There is no longer refuge in this world. Like many Americans, she lives in a simulacrum of democracy dependent on the refusal of elites to admit the severity of the crisis. … This is apparently a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government. … There is nowhere Ms. Yovanovitch can be safe, because Donald Trump is everywhere. His accomplices are everywhere … Had Mr. Trump’s lifelong connections to transnational organized crime been highlighted during the 2016 election … perhaps Ms. Yovanovitch would be safer now. Perhaps all Americans would. Perhaps we could rely on basic assurances, such as the U.S. government having your back when you are threatened by a foreign power, instead of stabbing its own knife through it.”
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                                        WEEKLY QUOTES

“The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not per se inconsistent with international law.” – said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a brief news conference.  He articulated an array of issues representing the newly established U.S. position vis a vis the territories.  Pompeo emphasized that the recognition would not extend to settlements that Israel’s courts deem illegal and the new position does not prejudge the status of the West Bank. (JTA, Nov. 18, 2019)

“Today, the United States adopted an important policy that rights a historical wrong when the Trump administration clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are inherently illegal under international law.” – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement following Pompeo’s announcement.  (Prime Minister’s Office, Nov. 18, 2019)

“Israel has not obligated itself to anything. Security policy has not changed. We are keeping open all possible operational possibilities. We will attack those who try to attack us.” – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a government meeting.  He was responding to the rocket fire from Gaza that fell on Israel.  (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 19, 2019)

“We are facing an emergency situation the likes of which Israel has never seen before. There has been an agreement in the Blue and White party that they will form a minority government with the Joint Arab List. We know with certainty that this decision has been made. Elections is a disaster, but the formation of a government which is dependent on the Arab parties is an even greater disaster. This is a historical danger to Israel’s security. It causes serious harm to Israel’s security.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after calling an emergency Likud meeting to discuss this turn of events. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 19, 2019)

“It is with a heavy heart that I have read about the increasing incidents of antisemitism. I completely agree that we need to do more to stamp this out and better protect our Jewish friends and neighbors.” – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.  The comments came in response to an October letter from Herzog calling on European leaders to make security of Jewish institutions a top priority. In light of the recent attempted murder of Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Halle, Germany during Yom Kippur, Herzog called on heads of state to pass legislation, deploy law enforcement agencies, and increase education efforts to “effectively combat antisemitism.” (Algemeiner, Nov. 17, 2019)

“Yet both before the establishment of the state of Israel and since, it has been clear that some of the criticism was not driven by policy disputes or by humanitarian concerns, but quite simply by anti-Semitic attitudes. … Israel is painted as a unique and irredeemable monster. The settler colonialism of the United States, Canada, Australia, or many other countries is not depicted as requiring their destruction—only Israel’s history demands its end. This hardening has led parts of the left to deny how the deeply painful history of Judaism in Europe led to the establishment of the state of Israel in the first place.” – writes political columnist  Azeem Ibrahim (FP, Nov. 18, 2019)

“Earlier this year the extreme leftist Israeli NGO B’tselem published a report attacking the Israeli Supreme Court about its decisions on construction in the ‘West Bank.’ The Dutch Government financed this study. In the agreement between B’tselem and the Dutch government the latter stated that “the situation [in Israel] of human rights development, rights of women, the most serious violations and freedom of expression are all under pressure.” The Dutch government specified the report’s goals and aimed to “erode the status quo by challenging the principal mechanisms that maintain the occupation (…).” – Scholar and columnist Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld writes.  He points out Dutch hypocrisy towards Israel after their government hid the fact that “at least 70 civilians in Iraq were killed by Dutch pilots in the battle against ISIS. It has also become known that the Ministry of Defense and Security knew these facts since 2015. So far the detailed internal report of the Ministry about these killings has not been found.” (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 19, 2019)

 SHORT TAKES

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHIFT ON SETTLEMENTS DRAWS MIXED RESPONSES FROM JEWISH, PRO-ISRAEL GROUPS IN US (Washington) — The Trump administration’s decision to break with a long-standing US policy of regarding settlements in the West Bank as “inconsistent with international law” drew mixed responses from Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, with one top official expressing “trust” that the decision would not boost settlement activity “beyond the established blocs widely expected to be recognized as part of Israel in any conceivable two-state compromise.” David Harris — CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — noted that the US shift “relates to a question of international law which has been repeatedly used as a weapon against Israel on the world stage.”  AIPAC noted that this decision “does not take a position on settlements.” Meanwhile, more fulsome praise for Trump and Pompeo came from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which lauded the administration for challenging what it called an “Orwellian antisemitic lie.” (Algemeiner, Nov. 19, 2019)

DISGRACE: TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT VOTES FOR ANTI-ISRAEL UN RESOLUTION SPONSORED BY NORTH KOREA & ZIMBABWE(Ottawa) — The Trudeau Government has sided with North Korea and Zimbabwe in supporting an anti-Israel UN resolution. On Twitter, Hillel Neuer exposed the horrible vote: “SHAME: 🇨🇦 Canada joins the jackals, votes for anti-Israel resolution co-sponsored by North Korea, Zimbabwe & the PLO. Resolution condemns Israel for “occupying” Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem & holiest sites of Judaism. Ignores hundreds of Palestinian rockets just fired at Israelis.” (Spencer Fernando, Nov. 20, 2019)

ISRAEL INTERCEPTS FOUR SYRIA ROCKETS BELIEVED TO BE FIRED AT IRAN’S COMMAND (Golan Heights) — Four rockets fired from Syria were intercepted over the Golan Heights by the Iron Dome missile defense system. According to sources in Israel’s defense establishment, the rockets were fired following a command from Iran. (Haaretz, Nov. 19, 2019)

NETANYAHU PROMISES FAMILIES: ISRAEL WILL NOT RETURN TERRORIST BODIES UNTIL IDF SOLDIERS COME HOME (Jerusalem) — Netanyahu told the Goldin and Shaul families that Israel would not return additional bodies to Gaza until the soldiers are returned. IDF Soldiers Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Sergeant Oron Shaul’s bodies have been held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. In early September, the Supreme Court ruled that the IDF can hold terrorists’ bodies and order their temporary burial for the purpose of negotiations with terrorist organizations. In doing so, the court reversed the previous decision of the High Court of Justice two years ago which did not give the IDF this authority. (Jewish Press, Nov. 18, 2019)

IRAN EXCEEDS HEAVY WATER LIMIT IN LATEST NUCLEAR DEAL BREACH: IAEA (Tehran) — Iran breached another limit in its nuclear deal by accumulating slightly more than 130 tonnes of heavy water, a substance used in a type of reactor it is developing, a U.N. nuclear watchdog report showed. (Reuters, Nov. 18, 2019)

LABOUR ELECTION CANDIDATE RAN SECRET FACEBOOK GROUP WHICH ADVISES PARTY ‘HOLOCAUST DENIERS’ HOW TO BEAT CHARGES OF ANTISEMITISM (London) – Maria Carroll organised and ran a secret Facebook group, which advises party members, including alleged Holocaust deniers, how to beat charges of antisemitism. The Jeremy Corbyn ally who is standing in the marginal seat of Camarthen East in Wales, co-founded and administered the site that instructed Labour Party members accused of antisemitism on how to avoid expulsion. (Daily Mail, Nov. 19, 2019)

UN EVENT TO HIGHLIGHT JEWISH REFUGEES EXPELLED FROM ARAB COUNTRIES (New York) — An event will be held next month at the United Nations headquarters to raise awareness in the international community about the nearly-one million Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries around the time of the establishment of the State of Israel seven decades ago. Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan will be a keynote speaker at the gathering, which is being organized by Israel’s UN Mission and the Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) organization. (Algemeiner, Nov. 19, 2019)

NYU DEPARTMENT CO-SPONSORS ANTI-ISRAEL SPEAKER, REJECTS REQUEST TO HOST PRO-ISRAEL ONE (NYC) — New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Studies Institute has denied a pro-Israel student’s request to host a Zionist speaker in response to an event it hosted last month with anti-Israel Palestinian-American lawyer Noura Erakat, according to emails obtained by JNS. Ben Newhouse, a junior, emailed on Oct. 15 a request that the department of social and cultural analysis (SCA) host one of the following speakers in response to the Oct. 23 event with Erakat: former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren; Alan Dershowitz, constitutional law scholar and author of The Case for Israel; Alex Safian, associate director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA); legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich; and former World Jewish Congress secretary-general Dan Diker. (Jewish Press, Nov. 17, 2019)

HATIKVAH’ PLAYED IN ABU DHABI AS ISRAELI TAKES GOLD IN JU-JITSU TOURNAMENT (Abu Dhabi) — Israel’s national anthem was played in an Abu Dhabi arena after 17-year-old Alon Leviev took gold in the junior category at the Ju-jitsu World Championship.  This is the latest instance of a sea change in the Gulf Emirate where Israeli symbols were banned just a few years ago. (Times of Israel, Nov. 17, 2019)

ISRAEL’S RISHON LEZION BECOMES WORLD MODEL FOR CHESS EDUCATION (Rishon Lezion) — Numerous countries, including Canada, Korea, Holland, Ukraine and most recently Russia, have adopted an Israeli method for chess education developed and implemented in the coastal city of Rishon Lezion. The Israeli method incorporates chess, mathematics and technology into the children’s curriculum from a young age. The program is offered in 72 preschools and 54 schools across Rishon Lezion. The city recently decided the program will be offered in 54 more preschools. (Jewish Press, Nov. 18, 2019)

FAMED UK JEWISH ACTOR SACHA BARON COHEN TO RECEIVE AWARD FROM ANTISEMITISM WATCHDOG GROUP (New York) – British-Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen — star of comedy smashes “Borat,” “The Dictator” and more recently, “The Spy,” in which he plays late Israeli hero Eli Cohen, who served as a Mossad agent in Syria during the early 1960s before he was caught and executed — will receive the International Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at its annual “Never is Now” summit in New York on Nov. 21.  (Algemeiner, Nov. 18, 2019)

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES NAMES NEW DREAMLINER ‘TEL AVIV’(Addis Ababa) — The airline, which operates two daily flights between the Ethiopian capital to Israel’s top financial hub, had intended to unveil the name of its new 787-9 aircraft upon arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport in an official ceremony. But photos managed to make it to the media ahead of the event after the aircraft had left the Boeing factory in Charleston, South Carolina for its experimental flight to Israel. (Jewish Press, Nov. 17, 2019)

“MODERN” JORDANIAN TV HOST CALLS TO “GOUGE OUT THE EYES OF ZIONISTS” (Amman) – Jordanian TV host Rana Hmouz wants to annul the Israel-Jordan peace agreement, to get rid of the Jewish people and the Jewish state and praises Palestinian Arab terrorists as “martyrs.”  Attitudes such as hers question just how “moderate” and “modern” Jordan is.  (Israel Unwired, Nov. 18, 2019)

CLINT EASTWOOD TWITTERSTORMS IN SUPPORT OF ISRAEL(Gaza Strip) — As rockets rained down from Gaza on Israel, legendary Hollywood actor and producer Clint Eastwood took to Twitter to show his support for the Jewish State. “Attention! @realDonaldTrump Pray for #Israel… They under attack right now! 2nd wave of rockets are incoming NOW at 1:41 EST …. 1st wave– More than 180 missiles (rockets) fired starting 22 hrs ago on Nov 12 #Israel #IronDome #Jewish #IsraelUnderFire #IsraelUnderAttack,” he tweeted on Tuesday. (WIN, Nov. 14, 2019)

                                     FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:

WATCH:  Barr Speaks at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention:  Fox News, YouTube, Nov. 15, 2019 — U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr delivers the Barbara K Olson Lecture at the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention. This takes place amid the second day of the public impeachment proceedings