Wednesday’s “News of the Week in Review” (October 2, 2019)

WEEKLY QUOTES

“Europe would be different without Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein or Simone Veil, while Judaism would be poorer without Maimonides or Rashi, Theodor Herzl or Golda Meir. … We know that where extremism flourishes, the poison of antisemitism is not far awayBased on our own terrible history of the Shoah, we have a special responsibility to tackle it wherever it rears its head.” — European Commission’s first vice-president, Frans Timmermans declared. (Algemeiner, Sept. 27, 2019)

“Palestinians deserve greater dignity, greater opportunity and greater freedoms, none of which will be accomplished through maintaining the status quo of donations. It won’t help in the West Bank and it certainly won’t help in Gaza. … So on behalf of the many Palestinians whom I’ve met with and have developed deep relationships with, I want to ask the donor countries the hard question these Palestinians would ask if they were able to publish this op-ed with me: “Can donor countries be bold enough to let the Palestinian people take a step forward, or will donor countries sentence them to more of the same?” – Jason D. Greenblatt, former Assistant to President Trump, writes in an op-ed.  (Fox News, Sept. 27, 2019)

“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer … a dream (but) it is an achievable goal.”  — The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Major General Hossein Salami told the Guards’ Sepah news site.  He claimed that four decades since the Islamic Revolution “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime.”  (France 24, Sept. 30, 2019)

“If Israel makes a strategic mistake, it has to collect bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea. … Iranian armed forces do not play according to the rules in their strategic depth which is as wide as West Asia.” — IRGC Deputy Commander for Operations Abbas Nilforoushan told the IRGC’s Tasnim news agency what would happen should  Israel attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.  (Radio Farda, Sept.  28, 2019)

“Today you cannot find security and intelligence officials in Israel … that would go back to the exact same deal… The United States has got enormous leverage, and I think the idea of going back into the same deal with Iran, it gives them a clear path to nuclear weapons.”  — Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer suggested that Israeli political and defense leaders are now united in opposing the terms of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Dermer made the comments in a conversation with Ambassador Dennis Ross at the United Against Nuclear Iran annual summit in New York. (Israel National News, Sept. 26, 2019)

“Note the double standard at work here. Democrats and most of the press corps want to impeach Mr. Trump for inviting foreign help to investigate Joe Biden and his son’s role in Ukraine. But at the same time, they want everyone to forget that the Clinton campaign in 2016 paid for foreign dirt that the FBI used to justify a secret surveillance warrant against the Trump campaign. … This attack on Mr. Barr looks like a pre-emptive warning to steer him and Mr. Durham off the case, or to discredit anything they might conclude or prosecute. … We hope the prosecutors won’t be deterred. When Washington is in impeachment heat, it pays to be skeptical and look for the other half of the story.” – Editorial Board (WSJ, Oct. 1, 2019)

“The mechanics of impeachment almost always promise a clash between a president of one party and a Congress dominated by another. Even so, by forgoing a full House vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, Mrs. Pelosi has amped up the partisanship. Instead of moving ahead with the full backing of the elected representatives of the American people, she has launched the Trump impeachment by personal ukase. Even more remarkable, it has been greeted with a collective ho-hum. True, the Constitution does not require a House vote. It’s also true, however, that Mrs. Pelosi has no precedent for what she has done, and by eliminating a House vote, she has denied the House minority the opportunity to be heard before Congress begins exercising its most formidable constitutional power short of declaring war: the process of removing an elected president.” – Columnist William McGurn writes.  (WSJ, Sept. 30, 2019)

SHORT TAKES

 

IRAN COMMITS NEW BREACH OF FRAYING NUCLEAR DEAL, EXPANDS ENRICHMENT – IAEA (Tehran) — Iran is breaching the restrictions of its deal with major powers step-by-step in response to U.S. sanctions imposed since Washington pulled out of the agreement in May of last year. The deal only lets Iran accumulate enriched uranium with just over 5,000 of its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz. It lets Iran use small numbers of more advanced models for research, without producing enriched uranium. (Reuters, Sept. 26, 2019)

ISRAEL POINTS FINGER AT IRAN’S KHAMENEI IN SAUDI HIT AS IT EYES GULF TIES (Jerusalem) — Speaking at the UN General Assembly,  Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that  the cruise missiles and drones that disabled key Saudi Arabian oil facilities, leading to the largest-ever surge in oil prices, were launched from Iran on the orders of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni. Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected accusations that their armed forces were responsible for the assault, which was initially claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Bloomberg, Sept. 26, 2019)

LATIN AMERICA: SURGING MOMENTUM FOR DESIGNATING HEZBOLLAH A TERROR ORGANIZATION (Latin America) — On July 16, the Macri government of Argentina made history by becoming the first country in Latin America to officially designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Less than one month later, on August 9, the Paraguayan government followed suit and officially recognized Hezbollah as a terror organization. Now, at least two other countries in the region are seriously considering issuing the same counterterrorism designation. (Middle East Forum, Sept. 24, 2019)

GANTZ REJECTS NETANYAHU’S CONDITIONS FOR FORMING GOV’T, LIKUD EXPECTED TO RETURN MANDATE (Jerusalem) — Israel’s Blue and White party rejected what it said were demands from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a unity government under his leadership with the prime minister’s right-wing and religious allies. Likud sources say that Netanyahu is expected to return his mandate to form a government to Israeli President Rivlin before Sunday evening, when the holiday of Rosh Hashana begins. President Rivlin will then appoint Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz with the task of forming a government. Gantz will be given 28 days to form a coalition of 61 Knesset members but is also expected to fail. (World Israel News, Sept. 28, 2019)

US ACCUSES SYRIA OF CHLORINE ATTACK, PLEDGES TO NOT LET IT GO ‘UNCHALLENGED’ (Washington) — The United States has accused Syria of conducting a chemical-weapons attack on May 19, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed won’t go “unchallenged.” While U.S. officials received reports in May about a possible chemical attack in northwest Syria, they did not make a conclusive determination at the time. (World Israel News, Sept. 28, 2019)

OUTPOURING OF ONLINE ANTISEMITISM IN POLAND AFTER REPORTS OF TENSE MEETING BETWEEN COUNTRY’S PRESIDENT AND US JEWISH LEADERS (Poland) — Reports of an argument between Polish President Andrzej Duda and a group of American Jewish leaders on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week provided the cue for a torrent of antisemitic abuse on Polish websites. Hundreds of comments on the popular Wiadomości news website drew on both ancient antisemitic stereotypes and more modern hostility to the State of Israel, as one poster after another attacked Jews. (Algemeiner, Sept. 27, 2019)

POLAND’S PRESIDENT BLAMES ISRAEL FOR RISE IN ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS, DENIED BY SPOKESMAN (Poland) — Poland’s president is reportedly accusing Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz of bearing responsibility for an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in Poland. In February, Katz asserted that late former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir had once said that Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.” Shamir’s father was murdered by Poles. (WIN, Sept. 27, 2019)

ISRAELI RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY BIBLICAL KINGDOM OF EDOM (Arava Desert) — Research has uncovered the untold story of a thriving and wealthy society in the Arava Desert – in parts of Israel and Jordan – that existed during the 12th-11th centuries BCE. “Using technological evolution as a proxy for social processes, we were able to identify and characterize the emergence of the biblical kingdom of Edom,” explained Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Ezra Ben-Yosef, who led the study with Prof. Tom Levy of the University of California, San Diego. “Our results prove it happened earlier than previously thought and in accordance with the biblical description.” (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19, 2019)

NEW YORK TIMES IRAN STORY RELIES ON ANALYST TIED TO BDS-BACKING ROCKEFELLER FUND (NYC) — The Times reports:  “The administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign “has not only failed to secure a better deal with Iran on its nuclear activities and problematic Iranian regional behavior, but actually created problems that did not previously exist,” said Andrew Miller, a former State Department official who is deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy.”  The Times doesn’t explain to readers what this “Project on Middle East Democracy” is funded  by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a charity that has been well documented by NGO MonitorBloomberg News and The Algemeiner itself as funding an array of efforts both to boycott Israel and to promote a nuclear deal that provided Iran with sanctions relief over the objections of Israel’s government. (Algemeiner, Sept. 27, 2019)

BDS ACCUSES ISRAEL OF ‘CLIMATE APARTHEID’ (Jerusalem) — the BDS movement claims Israel perpetrates “climate apartheid”. According to this ridiculous statement, the “indigenous Palestinians who live under Israel’s repressive regime have no control over their land or natural resources” and must endure Israel’s “climate apartheid”.  Notwithstanding the BDS movement’s false accusations, most Palestinians are governed by Mahmoud Abbas’ autonomous, corruption-plagued Palestinian Authority, which shows little to no regard for environmental conservation. (United With Israel, Sept 27, 2019)

IQRA KHALID REAPPEARS WITH RADICAL ACTIVIST DESPITE PAST APOLOGY (Toronto) — An incumbent Mississauga MP and nominated candidate for reelection has reneged on her past apologies by again associating with a radical activist who has incited violence against Jews. A photo received by B’nai Brith Canada shows Iqra Khalid posing at a recent event in the home of Amin El-Maoued, a radical anti-Israel activist. Last summer, B’nai Brith exposed Khalid for presenting a “Certificate of Appreciation” to El-Maoued and started a successful petition demanding that she rescind the certificate. Following B’nai Brith’s advocacy, Khalid apologized for the presentation, claimed she had not been aware of El-Maoued’s background, and rescinded the certificate – stating that “antisemitism has no place in Canadian society” and condemning El-Maoued’s views. The story received a significant amount of attention and backlash at the time. (Bnai Brith Canada, Sept. 27, 2019)

BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGN WORKER IS ADMIRER OF LOUIS FARRAKHAN (Washington) — A regional organizer for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign admires Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and has attended at least one of his sermons, which included anti-Jewish content. Deven Anderson began working for the Buttigieg campaign as a regional organizing director in Columbia, South Carolina. Between April 2010 and August 2013, Anderson tweeted more than 20 times about Farrakhan, praising his sermons and tweeting out his quotes, the Washington Free Beacon first reported. (JTA, Sept. 26, 2019)

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS REUNITED IN ISRAEL AFTER 75 YEARS (Jerusalem) — Morris Sana, 87, and his cousin and friend Simon Mairowitz, 85, were convinced that the other had been killed by the Nazis, according to People magazine. They reconnected after their descendants found each other on Facebook. The men had escaped Romania separately following the German invasion in 1940. Sana lives in Israel, in Raanana, and Mairowitz ended up in the United Kingdom. (JTA, Sept. 25, 2019)

MESA OBJECTS TO DOE INSISTING TAXPAYER-FUNDED DUKE/UNC CONSORTIUM FOR MIDDLE EAST STUDIES MAINTAIN BALANCE (Tucson, Arizona) — The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has joined a group of scholarly associations in writing a letter to the U.S. Department of Education protesting its insistence that, in order to continue receiving Title VI federal funding, the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies meet accompanying requirements by correcting “a lack of balance” and providing coursework relevant to international studies. The DoE letter followed an investigation spurred by complaints over a controversial March Duke/UNC conference that promoted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric. (Campus Watch, Sept. 25, 2019)

STATE DEPARTMENT TAKES NEW ACTION ON HILLARY INVESTIGATION (Washington) — State Department investigators are “investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email,” according to the Washington Post.  The Post’s sources say investigators began contacting former officials 18 months ago, “then seemed to drop the effort before picking it up again in August.” In “virtually all” of the cases, potentially sensitive information was sent to Clinton’s private, unauthorized server, the outlet notes. A State Department official stressed to the Post that the renewed investigation “has nothing to do with who is in the White House.” (Daily Wire, Sept. 30, 2019)

ANCIENT JEWISH MANUSCRIPTS SHOWCASED ONLINE BY BRITISH LIBRARY (London) — The British Library has released an online collection entitled “Discovering Sacred Texts” which provides access to such texts from nine different faiths: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, the Baha’i Faith, and Zoroastrianism. The collection includes what is said to be one of the only left-unmutilated or uncensored copies of the Talmud that escaped the public burnings of Jewish law books during the Middle Ages, the first complete printed text of the Mishnah, and the Gaster Bible, which is one of the earliest surviving Hebrew biblical codices thought to have been created in Egypt around the 10th century CE. (WIN, Sept. 26, 2019)

OSLO SYNAGOGUE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL BRASS PLATES VANDALIZED ON EVE OF ROSH HASHANAH (Oslo) — Vandals painted black over Holocaust memorial brass plates right outside Oslo’s synagogue on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. A Stolperstein (literally “stumbling stone”) is a 10 by 10 centimeters concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution. The Stolpersteine project was initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, to commemorate individuals at exactly their final home or workplace, before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror. (Jewish Press, Oct.  1, 2019)

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

WATCH: The Making of a Shofar!:  United With Israel, Sept. 18, 2017 — The “Shofar,” made from the horn of a ram or other kosher animal, is traditionally blown as part of the prayer service of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year).