Daily Briefing:WEDNESDAY’S NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW (August 26,2020)

Table of Contents:

WATCH:  Gila Yefet Interview- Zionism, An Indigenous Struggle: Aboriginal Americans and the Jewish State, Featuring Nathan ElbergIsranet.org, Aug. 19, 2020CIJR National Board Member Nathan Elberg discusses the book Zionism:  An Indigenous Struggle:  Aboriginal Americans and the Jewish State that he co-edited with CIJR Publications Editor Machla Abramovitz.  The book is available at Amazon.com 


Friedman: Will 2020’s Election Be the End of Our Democracy?:  Thomas Friedman, New York Times, Aug. 18, 2020

Here is a sentence I never in a million years thought that I would ever write or read: This November, for the first time in our history, the United States of America may not be able to conduct a free and fair election and, should President Donald Trump be defeated by Joe Biden, have a legitimate and peaceful transfer of power. … What to do policywise? Bombard your congressman’s and senators’ offices with email and protests, protect your neighborhood mailbox from being removed and, most important, join those protesters in the streets outside the Northwest D.C. home of Trump’s postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, putting him on notice that if he does not change his ways, for the rest of his life, everywhere he goes, every restaurant he enters, every movie he attends, every time he walks his dog, people will say, “There goes the man who deliberately eviscerated the Postal Service so that Americans could not have their votes counted in the 2020 election. …


“Many Democrats understandably long for their own bomb-throwing revolutionary. [But] Mr. Biden’s steadi- ness—his regular Joe-ness—won out over flashier, more exciting primary rivals,” – writes columnist Michelle Cottle.  (NYTimes, Aug. 21, 2020)“My fellow Black Americans are expected to fit a certain mold and think a certain way. We’ve been socially conditioned to blindly support the Democratic Party, never straying from the mental plantation they’ve had us on for more than a half century. The purpose of my speech was to serve as a culture shock, helping others break free of the groupthink-shackles placed on us by White liberals. Black Americans like me are free people with free minds. You hear that Joe Biden? We are not a monolithic thinking group subservient to Democrats’ electoral wishes,” – writes Vernon Jones, a Democratic politician from the state of Georgia.  He spoke at the RNC Convention in support of President Trump.  (CNN, Aug. 25, 2020)

“… the mere presence of Tim Scott and Nikki Haley as Republicans provides an eloquent answer to the Democrats’ narrative that systemic racism is crippling this country. It was [Nikki] Haley, then governor of South Carolina [her parents were Sikh immigrants from India], who chose freshman Rep. Scott [first African American senator from the South] to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate. It’s hard to overstate how profound a repudiation this was — of both modern liberal identity politics and the segregationist policies of the 19th– and 20th-century Democratic Party,” – writes columnist Carl M. Cannon commenting on Republicans Tim Scott and Nikki Haley addresses on the first day of the Republican National Convention. (RealClearPolitics, Aug. 25, 2020)

“…apart from the ‘We the People’ gauziness, here was a non-stop hum of grievance at the convention. To show their ferocious sincerity in the struggle against America’s injustices. They had to beat the crap out of the country—over and over. Its sins—racism, sexism, bigotry, violence, xenophobia, being unwelcome to immigrants. The charges, direct and indirect, never let up. Little love was expressed, little gratitude. Everyone was sort of overcoming being born here…. The cumulative effect of all this, especially for the young, would prompt an inevitable question: Why would anyone fight to save this place? Who needs it?”—writes columnist Peggy Noonan commenting on the Democratic National Convention.  (WSJ, Aug. 20, 2020)

The U.S.  Administration., tiring of higher education’s cost, anti-  Americanism, etc. … is turning fiscal screws to achieve “greater standards of efficiency and higher standards of diversity of intellectual, sociological and political perspectives. There is no suggestion of dictating curriculum, but there is clearly a powerful  and vocal ambition to  require that universities, as was for centuries their raison d’ėtre, expose students neutrally to a variety of viewpoints, instead of hatred of every aspect of American life and history: sausage factories of unpatriotic bigotry and narrow-mindedness,” – writes political commentator Conrad Black, commenting on the US’s struggle to control the school system and the postal service, with especial focus on those aspects that are relevant to Canada.  (National Post, Aug. 21, 2020)

“Here we go again. President Trump hypes a Covid-19 therapy that has shown potential based on early studies. The Food and Drug Administration approves the treatment [convalescent plasma] for emergency use and gets lambasted for letting politics influence the science,” – writes the WSJ Editorial Board. The treatment that President Trump touted was hydroxychloroquine.  (WSJ, Aug. 24, 2020)

“The MAGA/Alt-Right moment is over. I made mistakes; Trump is an obvious disaster; but mainly the paradigm contained flaws that we now are able to perceive. And it needs to end. … I plan to vote for #Biden and a straight democratic ticket. I’m on Team Joe!” and “Liberals are clearly more competent,” – tweeted white supremist, neo-Nazi, and instigator of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories Richard Spencer.  (Jewish Press, Aug. 25, 2020)


POMPEO, NETANYAHU OBLITERATE KUSHNER’S PART IN UAE PEACE DEAL (Jerusalem) — One name was missing from Monday morning’s public appearance in Jerusalem of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — President Trump’s especial advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The two men discussed the growing discomfort in the Israeli security apparatus and in the media over statements made by Kushner regarding a state-of-the-art arms deal with the United Arab Emirates which the on-in-law told CNN had been cleared. (Jewish Press, Aug. 24, 2020)

ARAB MEMBERS OF KNESSET LEAD RALLY AGAINST PEACE WITH UAE, PROMOTE BDS (Nazareth) — The Balad party (which is part of the Joint Arab list in the Knesset) held a rally in Nazareth against the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Member of Knesset (MK) Heba Yazbak  accused Israel of “trafficking in Palestinians’ rights to sovereign and independence…” (Jewish Press, Aug. 24, 2020)

US COMPLETES FIRST DIRECT FLIGHT FROM ISRAEL TO ARAB COUNTRY SUDAN (Khartoun) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sudan to push for open diplomatic ties with Israel, building on momentum from the recent historic agreement to establish relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. His flight was the first direct trip between Tel Aviv to the Sudanese capital Khartoum. (United With Israel, Aug. 25, 2020)

FOR QUICK CORONAVIRUS TESTING, ISRAEL TURNS TO A CLEVER ALGORITHM (Beer Sheva) — Moran Szwarcwort Cohen, who runs the virology lab at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, said the new pooled-corona testing method that 3 Israeli scientists pioneered could allow schools, college campuses, businesses and airlines to clear whole groups of people far faster than has been possible until now. (NYTimes, Aug. 21, 2020)

425 PURE GOLD COINS FROM 1,100 YEARS AGO UNCOVERED IN CENTRAL ISRAEL (Central Israel) — A rare stash of pure gold coins from the Abbasid Caliphate period, dated around 1,100 years ago, was uncovered by young volunteers in an archaeological excavation carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood in central Israel. The Abbasid Caliphate was the third caliphate to succeed the prophet Muhammad. (Jewish Press, Aug. 24, 2020)

ASSAD TAKES REVENGE ON LARGEST PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP IN SYRIA (Damascus) — Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad has ordered his government to remove the Palestinian presence from the Damascus area, bulldozing the former Yarmouk refugee camp that used to be home for up to 250,000 people.  The Palestinians, from the PLO to Hamas, are demanding a return. However, Assad decided that the camp will be liquidated and replaced with Syrian citizens.  (WIN, Aug. 19, 2020)

ISRAELI SPIES SMUGGLED RARE JEWISH BIBLES OUT OF SYRIA, COURT RULES THEY STAY IN JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — In a daring mission 27 years ago, Israeli spies, a Canadian activist, and a rabbi spirited nine rare Jewish texts called the “Damascus Crowns” out of the Syrian capital and into Israel. This week an Israeli rule that the medieval books must stay under the control of Israel’s National Library. The Damascus Crowns consist of the Tanach, or the Jewish Bible, which encompasses Judaism’s 24 canonical books. (United With Israel, Aug. 20, 2020)

BIDEN CAMPAIGN APOLOGIZES TO MUSLIMS FOR SARSOUR CONDEMNATION (Washington) — Top aides for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign apologized to dozens of prominent Arab and Muslim activists for the campaign’s recent disavowal of anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour.  Symone Sanders, senior adviser for the Biden campaign, called the disavowal an “egregious misstep” and stressed that the campaign does not equate criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism and recognizes the “constitutional right to free speech on issues like BDS.” (WIN, Aug. 25, 2020)

DID BIDEN PLAGIARIZE LAYTON? (Washington) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, a man not unaccustomed to allegations of plagiarism, is now being accused of copying the words of former New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton. In a speech at the Democratic National Convention, Biden’s final address included the lines, “For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. And light is more powerful than dark.” Social media was quick to point out that the words were eerily similar to ones found in a letter Layton wrote before he died in 2011. “My friends, love is better than anger,” said Layton in his letter. “Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.” (National Post, Aug. 22,  2020)

TRUMP CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF GOODYEAR OVER CLOTHING POLICY (Washington) — Goodyear has asked its employees to avoid ‘workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party as well as similar forms of advocacy.’ Shares in tire maker fell as much as 6% Wednesday as U.S. President rails against company’s ban on political attire at work.  White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Mr. Trump was concerned that the company allowed attire supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and other issues related to equality, but not the Blue Lives Matter group backing police officers, or MAGA. (Globe and Mail, Aug. 20, 2020)

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR SIGNS ANTI-ISRAEL ‘ETHNIC STUDIES’ BILL INTO LAW (California) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law to require an ethnic-studies course requirement for matriculation from California State University (CSU), starting with the 2021-22 school year. Spearheaded by the AMCHA Initiative, 90 education, civil-rights and religious groups had called on Newsom to veto the bill, AB-1460. The groups noted that vetoing AB-1460 was necessary because anti-Zionist advocacy and the promotion of BDS are an intrinsic part of critical ethnic studies; critical ethnic-studies faculty have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to promote BDS and anti-Zionist advocacy in their academic programming and classrooms; and faculty support and promotion of BDS are linked to the harassment of Jewish students. (WIN, Aug. 19, 2020)

FACEBOOK ‘ACTIVELY PROMOTES HOLOCAUST DENIAL,’ WARNS NEW REPORT (UK) – An Aug. 10th report, “Hosting the Holohoax: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media,” was released by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a think tank in the United Kingdom. It concluded that Facebook “actively promotes further Holocaust-denial content to that user” and “has been unwilling to recognize Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech against Jews.” The report also mentions that Twitter has acted against Holocaust denial on its platform, but only in “instances where individuals were using images of Holocaust victims to explicitly attack Jewish people, rather than individuals denying the Holocaust’s occurrence or severity.” (United With Israel, Aug. 20, 2020)

CBC LOBS SOFTBALL QUESTIONS TO FMR. PLO REPRESENTATIVE ON ISRAEL & UAE PEACE DEAL (Toronto) — On August 14, CBC’s flagship radio program As It Happens featured a segment on the UAE and Israel peace deal to gauge the Palestinian reaction to the deal. The program interviewed Diana Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer, and a former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who said that the deal represented a “stab in the back” for Palestinians. Oddly titled: “Palestinian UAE Deal” (not Israel and UAE deal) CBC guest host Peter Armstrong (former CBC Mideast bureau chief) lobbed softball questions to Ms. Buttu which gave her ample opportunity to condemn the normalization deal without challenge. (Honest Reporting Canada, Aug. 16, 2020)

KIM JONG-UN IN A COMA ACCORDING TO SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL (Pyongyang) — According to the Guardian and CNN, Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong is now in charge of the affairs of North Korea, following what a former aide to a former South Korean president described as Kim slipping into a coma. Chang Song-min, who served as an aide to the late president of South Korea Kim Dae-jung, told South Korean media about the North Korean dictator: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.” (Jewish Press, Aug. 24, 2020)

A FACEBOOK ENGINEER BECAME AN INFORMANT FOR IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD (Edmonton) — Facebook engineer Behdad Esfahbod, a Canadian-Iranian,  said he was arrested by Revolutionary Guard intelligence agents on the streets of Tehran, held in solitary confinement for seven days and psychologically tortured into promising to cooperate, which he never did. He has since struggled as his mental health, marriage and career fell apart. He said he had considered suicide.  He travelled to Iran in Jan. to visit his family.  (Economic Times, Aug. 22, 2020)

TURKEY REVEALS MASSIVE NATURAL GAS DISCOVERY IN BLACK SEA (Ankara) — Turkey announced its biggest-ever natural gas discovery, a 320-billion-cubic-metre Black Sea field which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said was part of even bigger reserves and could come on stream as soon as 2023. (Globe and Mail, Aug. 22, 2020)


Diane Francis: Erin O’Toole is the Best Man for the Job:  Diane Francis, Financial Post, Aug. 24, 2020 — Newly minted Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is the right guy for the job. He will become Canada’s next prime minister.

Tories’ New Leader Captures the Team’s Spirit: Andrew MacDougall, Globe and Mail, Aug. 25, 2020Erin O’Toole has a scrappy sense of hustle and a clear-eyed understanding of the work to come.

WATCH: Israeli Flying Ambulances Reach Tight Urban Areas, Remote Locations United With Israel, Aug. 24, 2020