Daily Briefing:News of the Week in Review (October 14,2020)

Logos of the 5 major U.S. broadcast networks.(Wikipedia)

MEDIA OCRITIES OF THE WEEK

Trump’s Not Superman. He’s Superspreader:  Thomas Friedman, NYTimes, Oct. 6, 2020
“The most important question today is not what President Trump has learned from his bout with Covid-19. Trump is one of those leaders who never learns and never forgets … The most important question is what have we as citizens learned — and, in particular, what have Trump’s supporters learned? Because the debate over Trump himself is over. The verdict is in: He cast himself as Superman, but he turns out to have been Superspreader — not only of a virus but of a whole way of looking at the world in a pandemic that was dangerously wrong for himself and our nation. To re-elect him would be an act of collective madness. …”America May Need International Intervention:  Peter Beinart, NYTimes, Oct. 6, 2020“The rightful president of Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, appeared via video last month before the United Nations Human Rights Council. Her country’s August election, she declared, had been “stolen.” Despite objections from a representative of the Belarusian government, who said she had no right to address the body, Ms. Tikhanovskaya implored the United Nations to act. “Standing up for democratic principles and human rights is not interfering in internal affairs,” she insisted, “it is a universal question of human dignity.” No one knows how Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis will affect his presidential campaign, but before falling ill, he repeatedly suggested that he won’t accept the results of the election, should he lose. In that case, Joe Biden should follow Ms. Tikhanovskaya’s example and appeal to the world for help…”

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable.  Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives,” — said Vice President Mike Pence.  He responded to Senator Kamala Harris’s remarks during the Oct. 8th Vice-Presidential debate where she said, “If the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely.  But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.” (National Review, Oct. 7, 2020)

“What if the claim that US President Donald Trump was infected with the corona virus is fabricated? Some say President Trump fabricated this news to win sympathy, and to avoid future debates with his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden,” — the editorial board of the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority wrote.  It ran a front-page editorial with the headline “Trump’s Corona – False Claims and Expectations.” (United With Israel, Oct. 8, 2020)

“Would the Pope really think in such petty terms when the fate of millions of religious believers hangs in the balance? Vox, in a cack-handed attempt to defend the papal snub, has answered that question for us. It reports that Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the left-wing Liverpudlian who serves as the Vatican’s secretary for relations with state, told an Italian news agency on Wednesday that Francis didn’t want to help Trump’s reelection efforts and ‘that is precisely why the Pope will not meet American secretary of state Mike Pompeo’. Let that sink in. The ‘Vicar of Christ’ snubbed Pompeo not just because the latter was planning to inform him about the living hell endured by the Chinese faithful, but also because he’s trying to thwart the reelection of a president who, whatever his faults, has done more to defend international religious freedom than any of his predecessors. I can’t find printable words to describe the disgust that evokes in me, so let me turn instead to the shortest verse in the entire Bible. John, chapter 11, verse 35: ‘Jesus wept,” – writes columnist Damian Thompson, explaining why Pope Francis wouldn’t meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  One of the issues Pompeo planned on discussing with the pope was the Vatican’s renewal of its 2018 deal with the Chinese Communist party. (The Spectator, Oct. 2, 2020)

“It was an audacious plot put in motion by one of Clinton’s foreign policy advisers and then sanctioned by the then-Democrat presidential candidate on July 26. But the genesis of the smear came from Clinton herself. For months, she had peppered her campaign speeches with increasingly venomous accusations that her opponent was a Kremlin asset and a “puppet of Putin.” There was not a shred of plausible evidence. It was a shameless lie drawn from the insidious depths of Clinton’s fictive imagination. It was magnificently devious and classic Clinton. But the lie didn’t stop there,” – writes opinion columnist Gregg Jarrett regarding the genesis of what has come to be called “the Russia hoax.”    (Fox News, Oct. 8, 2020)

“God help us, the EU and the whole world if there are four more years of Trump,” — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said when testifying before the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. (WIN, Oct. 13, 2020)

“No, they don’t deserve- I’m not gonna play his game. He’d [President Trump] love… that to be the discussion instead of what he’s doing now,” – said Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden.  He responded to a question from KTNV journalist Ross DeMattei as to whether voters deserve to know whether he and Kamala Harris intend to “pack the Supreme Court.” Packing the court means increasing the number of Supreme Court judges from nine to fifteen to weigh the court in favour of one political side over another.  (National Review, Oct. 10, 2020)

“A judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were. Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he [Judge Antonin Scalia] did not like. But as he put it in one of his best known opinions, that is what it means to say that we have a government of laws, not of men,” — Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing for a position on the Supreme Court.  (The Epoch Times, Oct. 12, 2020)
 

  SHORT TAKES
 

NETANYAHU, ABU DHABI PRINCE TO MEET (Jerusalem) — Israel’s cabinet approved a normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince had spoken and agreed to meet soon. The U. S.- brokered “treaty of peace” establishing full relations with the Gulf Arab country broke new diplomatic ground in the region, where concern over Iran is high, even as Palestinians condemned the pact as betrayal of their quest for statehood in Israeli-occupied land. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-nahyan, the UAE’S de facto leader, tweeted that he and Netanyahu had discussed strengthening bilateral ties and the prospects for peace in the area. (National Post, Oct. 13, 2020)

AFTER ACQUIRING NOBLE ENERGY, CHEVRON SHUTS OFF THE GAS TO ISRAEL, DEMANDS HIGHER PRICES (Jerusalem) – Prime Minister Netanyahu may have been premature with his praise of gas giant Chevron‘s entrance into the Israel offshore gas market following the completion of their acquisition of Noble Energy on October 5, 2020, making Chevron the operator of Israel’s Tamar (25%) and Leviathan (39.66%) offshore gas fields. Noble was acquired in an all-stock transaction for $5 billion and assuming $8 billion in debt. Unfortunately, one of Chevron’s first moves in the Israeli market was to turn off the flow of gas to the Israel Electric Company (IEC) on Tuesday and demand much higher prices. (Jewish Press, Oct. 7, 2020)

12% HAREDIM, 16% ARABS AMONG CORONA FATALITIES IN ISRAEL (Jerusalem) — Haredi patients constituted 12% of the coronavirus deaths in Israel as of the beginning of October, while 16% of the deceased were from the Arab society. An alarming 15% of Corona patients in critical condition were from the Haredi society, and 24% were Israeli Arabs. This is according to data from the Military Intelligence Directorate published by the Health Ministry. Police representatives have held talks with leaders of the Haredi public and warned them against holding mass events during the Sukkot holiday. (Jewish Press, Oct. 7, 2020)

COVID MASKS GO SCIENCE FICTION WITH NANOTECHNOLOGY (Ramat Gan) — Sonovia Tech  created a mask that not only protects wearers from breathing in dust particles that might be infused with SARS-CoV2, but also eliminates COVID – 19 itself.  Using revolutionary sound wave technology, the team put together the SonoMask. Constructed with a reusable fabric that maintains its efficiency after over 50 washes, the SonoMask has been tested and revealed to prevent coronavirus at efficiency levels of up to 98%. The masks are now available for online purchase. (Times of Israel, Oct. 7, 2020)

GRAND MUFTI OF JERUSALEM: ISLAMIC LAW REQUIRES MUSLIMS WAGE JIHAD AGAINST ISRAEL (Jerusalem) — In a Sept. 18 interview with Palestinian Authority TV, Hussein stressed that “if an inch of the Muslims’ lands is stolen, jihad becomes a personal religious commandment for everyone.”  The P.A. defines the State of Israel as stolen Islamic land (waqf), an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law. Therefore, said Hussein, Shariah law prohibits Palestinians from recognizing Israel, within any borders, and commands that every Muslim has a personal duty to wage war against the Jewish state until the “Muslim” land is freed. (Jewish Press, Oct. 13, 2020)

AUSTRALIA HALVES UNRWA FUNDING (Melbourne) — Australia has quietly halved its contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). In 2020-21, Australia will contribute $10 million to UNRWA, down from $20 million in 2019-20. (AIJAC, Oct. 9, 2020)

EU WON’T GIVE PA MORE AID AS THEY REFUSE ISRAEL-COLLECTED TAX FUNDS (Brussels) — The EU turned down requests from Ramallah for additional aid, as long as the Palestinians refuse to accept their own money because it is collected by Israel. The PA will, however, continue to get the aid it usually receives from the EU. (Jerusalem Post, Oct.8, 2020)

IRAN SETS CORONAVIRUS RECORD AS CAPITAL RETURNS TO LOCKDOWN (Tehran) — The government ordered a shutdown in Tehran to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They are the toughest restrictions since Iran gradually reopened from its first nationwide lockdown in April after emerging as the Middle East’s biggest virus hot spot. (WSJ, Oct. 5, 2020)

U.S. ISSUES ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS AGAINST IRANIAN BANKS(Washington) — The Trump administration imposed a new round of economic sanctions against Iran’s financial sector, as Washington seeks to increase pressure on Tehran in the weeks leading up to the presidential election. The measure imposes penalties against 18 Iranian banks and comes days before a United Nations arms embargo on the country is set to expire. The action could effectively lock Iran out of the global financial system, further cratering its already collapsing economy. (NYTimes, Oct. 8, 2020)

TURKEY STANDS AND WILL CONTINUE TO STAND WITH OUR DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER, AZERBAIJAN’ (Istanbul) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a recent speech that Turkey stands with “brotherly country” Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia and expressed his hope that the fighting would continue until Nagorno-Karabagh was “liberated.” The Turkish leader further claimed that recent developments in the region were all part of an attempt to isolate Turkey. (JNS, Oct. 11, 2020)

EXCLUSIVE: QATAR MAKES FORMAL REQUEST FOR F-35 JETS(Doha) — Qatar has submitted a formal request to the U.S. to buy stealthy F-35 fighter jets in a deal that if pursued could strain U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel. The request for the Lockheed Martin Co LMT.N jets was submitted by the Persian Gulf state in recent weeks. (Reuters, Oct. 7, 2020)

CUOMO SAYS NEW YORKERS HAVE A COVID ‘CLUSTER PROBLEM’ – ANNOUNCES NEW CLOSURES (NYC) — New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that no more than 10 people will be allowed per synagogue located in any area designated as a “hotspot.” Cuomo said there are clusters in colleges upstate, in Binghamton, Orange, Rockland, Queens, Brooklyn and in Nassau, and said that is where the “Cluster Action Initiative” will be applied. (Jewish Press, Oct. 7, 2020)

FACEBOOK FINALLY BANS HOLOCAUST DENIAL, DISTORTION POSTS (California) — Facebook is banning posts that deny or distort the Holocaust and will start directing people to authoritative sources if they search for information about the Nazi genocide. This action is the latest attempt by the company to act against conspiracy theories and misinformation.(WIN, Oct. 12, 2020)

GREEK COURT RULES NEO-NAZI PARTY GOLDEN DAWN IS A CRIMINAL GROUP (Athens) — A Greek court ruled that the far-right Golden Dawn party was operating as a criminal organization, delivering landmark guilty verdicts following a politically charged five-year trial against dozens of defendants. Golden Dawn, founded as a neo-Nazi group in the 1980s, rose to become Greece’s third-largest party during the country’s recent financial crisis and was a model for many extreme-right groups worldwide. (CTV News, Oct. 7, 2020)

US COURT ORDERS IRAN TO PAY $1.4 BILLION TO FAMILY OF FORMER JEWISH FBI AGENT (Washington) — A U.S. court has ordered the Iranian government to pay more than $1.4 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to the family of former FBI agent and Jewish American Robert Levinson, who disappeared in 2007 while visiting Iran and working part-time for the CIA. He is believed to have died while in Iranian custody. U.S. (Jewish Press, Oct. 7, 2020)

ISLAMIC STATE ‘BEATLES’ IN COURT OVER US HOSTAGES’ DEATHS (Alexandria, Va) — Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are accused of belonging to an IS cell dubbed “The Beatles” involved in kidnappings in Iraq and Syria. US Assistant Attorney General John Demers told a press conference the charges were “the result of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice” for the four Americans who died – James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig. (BBC, Oct. 8, 2020)
 

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE
 

Will They, or Won’t They? Saudi Recognition of Israel is the $64,000 Question:  James Dorsey, JNS, Oct. 11, 2020 — Bahrain’s announcement that it would follow in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates was as much a Bahraini move as it was a Saudi signal that it is not opposed to normalization with Israel.

Exclusive: Reason for Ron Lauder’s Visit to Palestinian Authority Revealed Baruch Yedid, Jewish Press, Oct. 12, 2020 — Exclusive: A senior source in the Palestinian Authority (PA) informed TPS that Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, visited Ramallah on behalf of US President Donald Trump, after it became clear to the Trump Administration that there are initial contacts between Abu Mazen and Joe Biden’s staff.

The Public’s Right to Know about the President’s Health vs. the President’s Right to Medical Confidentiality:  Alan M. Dershowitz, Jewish Press, Oct. 7, 2020 — The public has a right to know the details of the president’s medical situation. But the president has the right to keep his medical information confidential.