WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”
Contents: | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes | On Topic Links
AFTER YET ANOTHER ELECTION WIN,
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BENJAMIN NETANYAHU?
Spectator USA, Apr. 10, 2019
Benjamin Netanyahu has done it again, discreditably but indubitably. If Tuesday’s Israeli election was a referendum on his character as well as his competence, Netanyahu’s campaign tactics explained why. When his erstwhile allies to his right challenged him as the New Right, he manufactured an even newer set of allies from even further right, and invited Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) into his next coalition. When the Blue and White centrists challenged him on his left flank, he derided Blue and White’s leader, ex-general Benny Gantz, as a mentally unfit leftist, and promised to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
In the small hours of Wednesday morning, with 96 per cent of the vote counted, Netanyahu and the Likud looked set to grow their share of the vote from 30 to 35 seats. Though Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party also stood to win 35 seats, the coalition arithmetic favors Netanyahu. A Likud-led coalition with the religious and hard-right parties, softened a little by the center-right Kulanu, will give Netanyahu a solid 65 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. A Blue and White-led coalition with left-wing parties including the rump of once-mighty Labour, reduced to a mere 6 seats, and Arab parties would only gather 55 seats. In a possible further boost to Netanyahu’s control of the next Knesset, with the last votes to be counted, the New Right were still 0.1 per cent short of the threshold for Knesset representation
Netanyahu’s victory derives not just from skullduggery and scaremongering, or even last-minute assists from Donald Trump, who recognized Israel’s claim to the western watershed of the Golan Heights … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
On Topic Links
Netanyahu Remains Israel’s Indispensable Man: Jonathan S. Tobin, National Post, Apr. 10, 2019 – – Can a national leader win re-election despite voter fatigue with his long tenure and with corruption indictments hanging over him?
AG Bill Barr: “Spying On A Political Campaign Is A Big Deal”: RealClearPolitics, Apr. 10, 2019, Video and Transcript — Speaking to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Attorney General Barr said he would investigate the origins of the Mueller probe and that he believes “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016.
Designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: U.S. Department of State, Apr. 8, 2019 — The State Department intends to designate as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in its entirety, including the Qods Force. This is a historic step to counter Iran-backed terrorism around the world.
Labour’s Hate Files Expose Jeremy Corbyn’s Antisemite Army: The Sunday Times, Apr. 2019, Video. — The Labour Party has failed to take disciplinary action against hundreds of members accused of antisemitism under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, according to internal documents leaked to The Sunday Times.
“Election Day should be applauded as an example of Israel’s democracy and the long way it has come since the 1940s in establishing a robust system and institutions that support democracy. While many express concerns about various laws and mentalities in Israel that are accused of being “undemocratic,” the reality on the ground is that in turnout and diversity of parties, there is a very healthy democracy in Israel. The different parties express themselves in different languages and official campaign adverts were also in Arabic and Russian.” – Editorial (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 10, 2019)
“After 37 years you have come home to our Land, to Jerusalem. To our soldiers in the past, present and future – you must know that we will not rest until everyone has been returned home. Today we can finally tell [Zachary’s father] that even though you didn’t live to see this day, the mission to bring Zachary has been completed.” — said President Reuven Rivlin at the funeral of IDF Staff Sgt Zachary Baumel, who went missing at the Battle of Sultan Yacoub in 1982. The remains of some 19 other Israelis were also returned together with the body of Baumel. Sadly, Baumel’s fellow soldiers who fell together with him – Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman – were not among those who returned. (Jewish Press, Apr. 4, 2019)
“My vision [of Israel victory]: no concessions…Everything I do, I do from a position of strength. Great strength and power. Israel will survive, and already flourishes and thrives as a result of a policy of strength.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Galey Israel radio with Daniel Seaman, director of Middle East Forum (MEF). The prime minister cited the U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and Brazilian president Javier Bolsonaro’s visit to the Western Wall as recent fruits of this principle. (Middle East Forum, Apr. 9, 2019)
“Whoever supports Hamas under the mantle of providing humanitarian aid disregards the fundamental values of our constitution. This also discredits the commitment of the many aid organizations that have committed themselves to neutrality under difficult circumstances.” – German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. Police carried out raids across Germany targeting charities suspected of providing “financial and propaganda” support to Hamas. (DW, Apr. 10, 2019)
“There’s a crucial distinction between the acquisition of territory through aggression and acquiring it through legitimate self-defense.” — Honest Reporting Canada responded to writer Mark Mackinnon’s article featured in the Globe and Mail on April 8 (print and online) that challenges Israel claims that President Trump’s recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s campaign vow to annex settlement blocs in Judea & Samaria (the West Bank), comports with international law, specifically UN Resolutions 242 and 338. (Honest Reporting Canada, Apr. 9, 2019)
“Some people might think that all of a sudden, the Democracy Party is uniform in its opposition to Israel, but that is far from the truth. You just have splinters, pockets that are bubbling up… [But as relatively small as those putrid bubbles might be,] we need to extinguish them immediately.” — Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) fifth district speaking to an audience at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake. (Jewish Standard, Mar. 14, 2019)
“When the bus drivers saw our Israeli passports, they immediately became aggressive and humiliated us. I wanted to stow our food in my luggage, but one of the bus drivers suddenly told me that we had to throw it away. He was very aggressive and angry.” — tour guide Itamar Eli told the German publication Welt. The youngsters — all of whom hail from economically disadvantaged families in Haifa — traveled to Germany to see UEFA Champions League regulars Borussia Dortmund play at their famous BVB Stadion, thanks to a financial gift from the Israeli branch of the German soccer team’s fan club. But when the group boarded a bus to Amsterdam airport, their Israeli identification documents attracted the hostility of staff onboard. (Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2019)
“Notorious Islamist activist Linda Sarsour appears an earnest advocate of Islamist-progressivism, calling for (an ostensibly non-violent) “jihad” against Donald Trump, and quipping: “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” In 2014, praising the fact that Saudi Arabia reportedly provides women with ten weeks of paid maternity leave, Sarsour denounced opponents of Saudi’s ban on female drivers (which has since been lifted) and claimed that Saudi put the U.S to shame. Sarsour is a harbinger of a broader trend. Whether American Islamist movements intended to embrace progressivism authentically or not, many Islamist groups are now so firmly entrenched in the progressive movement that a generation of young American Muslims is growing up convinced that the progressivist social justice and sexual identity narratives are intrinsic components of the Islamist agenda. No wonder some traditional Islamists speak out so forcefully against “liberal ideology,” or caution against too tight an embrace of progressivist allies – their own radicalism is being supplanted.” – Sam Westrop writes in an article entitled, “Creeping Theo-Progressivism.” (City Journal, Mar. 12, 2019)
“But we must counter with stubborn questions. Can one really distinguish a “softer” antisemitism from a more virulent kind? In other words, did those “saved” Jews ever feel completely at ease? Isn’t being uprooted, separated from family and incarcerated in French labor camps, rather than sent east, still antisemitic? Finally, the most obvious question: How did the authorities—German and French—still manage to murder 80,000 Jews, including 11,000 children? This debate will persist.” – Ronald C. Rosbottom writes in a review of Jacques Semelin’s book “The Survival of the Jews in France 1940-44.” Mr. Rosbottom is the author of “When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944” and the forthcoming “Sudden Courage: Youth in France Confront the Germans, 1940-1945.” (WSJ, Apr. 10, 2019)
“The hearing today is not about “white nationalism” or “hate crimes.” It’s about fear-mongering, power and control. It’s a preview of the 2020 Democrat election strategy… what they want to say is that brown people need to be scared which seems to be the narrative that we hear every four years right ahead of a presidential election.… White supremacy, racism, white nationalism, words that once held real meaning, have now become nothing more than election strategies… My point is that white nationalism did not do any of those things that I just brought up. Democrat policies did.” – Conservative commentator and activist Candance Owens’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Owens is the founder of Blexit, a campaign to encourage African Americans to abandon the Democratic Party and register as Republicans. (The American Spectator, Apr. 10, 2019)
WITH ALMOST ALL VOTES IN, NETANYAHU-LED RIGHT WINS DECISIVELY (Jerusalem) — With some 97 percent of votes in Tuesday’s contest counted, his Likud party was tied with Blue and White, but his right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc held a decisive lead and Netanyahu was thus safely en route to forming a majority governing coalition. # of Knesset Seats (compared to 2015) (Times of Israel, Apr. 10, 2019)
DRUZE WOMAN SET TO ENTER KNESSET IN ISRAELI FIRST (Jerusalem) — Gadeer Mreeh of the Blue and White party will become the first woman of Druze ethnicity to become a Member of Knesset. A former news anchor, the 34-year-old mother of two is from the northern Israeli town of Daliyat al-Karmel. The Middle-Eastern Druze people regularly serve in the IDF and other aspects of Israeli society. Other Druze politicians include Likud’s Ayoob Kara, also from Daliyat al-Karmel. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 10, 2019)
TRUMP DESIGNATES ELITE IRANIAN MILITARY FORCE AS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (Washington) — Administration officials said the move is a response to Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East. Formed after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the IRGC is not only Iran’s most powerful military institution, it holds deep influence over domestic politics and the economy, with interests extending to and beyond the construction, telecommunications, auto and energy industries. (CNN, Apr. 8, 2019)
LEADING JEWISH, PRO-ISRAEL GROUPS PRAISE TRUMP’S DESIGNATION OF IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS AS TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (U.S.) – The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, and former senator Joseph Lieberman and ambassador Mark D. Wallace of the watchdog United Against Nuclear Iran all applauded President Trump’s administration for its decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. (Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2019)
AIRBNB BACKS DOWN THANKS TO SHURAT HADIN – ISRAEL LAW CENTER (Washington) –This dramatic announcement comes in the wake of negotiations between the Shurat HaDin Law Center and AIRBNB in recent weeks to rescind the company’s decision to delist the properties of Jewish homeowners in Judea and Samaria and as result of a federal lawsuit filed by the Shurat HaDin organization against the AIRBNB on behalf of Israeli-American homeowners. (Eye on Antisemitism, Apr. 4, 2019)
ISRAEL’S BERESHEET SPACE PROBE PREPARES FOR HISTORIC MOON LANDING (Cape Canaveral) — The Beresheet space probe is scheduled to touch down between 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. et., settling on a vast lava plain on the lunar nearside known as mare serenitatis, or the sea of serenity. the landing will be livestreamed by Spaceil, the Israeli nonprofit organization behind the mission, and Israel aerospace industries, the company that built the four-legged spacecraft. in the history of space exploration, only the U.S., Russia and China have landed a spacecraft on the moon. (MACH, Apr. 9, 2019)
Honourary Col. David Hart, Dieppe vet, dies at 101 (Montreal) — Honorary Colonel David Hart, MM, CD of the 34th signals regiment, a veteran of the World War II battle of Dieppe and Canada’s oldest and longest serving officer, was laid to rest following his death at the age of 101. Col. Hart “had been awarded the military medal for bravery on the battlefield as a young sergeant at the battle of Dieppe in 1942 before being commissioned as an infantry officer,” the RMR announcement said. (Suburban, Mar. 31, 2019)
ALGERIA’S PRESIDENT, ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA, RESIGNS (Algiers) –The president’s resignation followed weeks of huge anti-government demonstrations in Algiers, the nation’s capital. He’d lost the support of the judiciary, the military, and even his own long-ruling party, the National Liberation Front, which had a lock on power since the 1990s following a disastrous civil war that expunged the NLF’s primary challenger at the time, the Islamic Salvation Front, at the cost of over 100,000 lives. (National Post, Apr. 3, 2019)
THE INTERSECTIONAL, ANTISEMITIC ‘DEADLY EXCHANGE’ CAMPAIGN COMES TO CAMPUS (U.S.) – A new antisemitic “Deadly Exchange” campaign is making its debut on various campuses during this year’s Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). The campaign traffics in tropes and canards about Jewish power in order to accuse Israel and US-based Jewish organizations, like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), for conspiring to harm and oppress American black and brown people. They claim that the ADL funds and sponsors American-Israeli police exchange programs and counter-terrorism seminars where US law-enforcement officials allegedly learn “worst practices.” (Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2019)
MADONNA TO PERFORM AT EUROVISION FINALS IN ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) — The Michigan-born music icon Madonna will perform two songs, including one from her upcoming album, at the Eurovision Song Contest grand finale in Tel Aviv on May 18. Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams will cover the $1.3 million cost to bring in the superstar, who last performed in Israel in 2012 when she kicked off her world tour in Tel Aviv. (Jewish Press, Apr. 9, 2019)
FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN ISRAEL JUMPED 30 PERCENT BETWEEN 2015 TO 2017 (Jerusalem) — Foreign investment in Israel jumped 30 percent in two years, according to a new report from the Central Bureau of Statistics. The report states that foreign investments in Israel totaled $129.1 billion for 2017, a 20.2 percent increase compared to 2016 and 30 percent higher than 2015, which saw foreign investment of under $100 billion. (Jewish Press, Apr. 8, 2019)
‘JEWS HAVE TO DIE!’: RABBI RECOUNTS ANTISEMITIC ASSAULT ON SYNAGOGUE WORSHIPPERS FOLLOWING FRIDAY NIGHT SERVICES (Buenos Aires) — Rabbi Uriel Husni of the Mikdash Yosef synagogue in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires that was attacked following Shabbat services has called on the Argentine authorities to step up security at Jewish institutions around the country. According to Husni, between 10 and 15 congregants were talking on the sidewalk outside the synagogue when a man and a woman began showering them with antisemitic abuse. As the woman began yelling “Jews have to die! Kill the Jews!” the man accompanying her threw stones and glass shards at the stunned synagogue congregants. (Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2019)
ISRAELI ISLAMIC STATE FIGHTER STRIPPED OF CITIZENSHIP IN ABSENTIA (Jerusalem) — Interior Minister Aryeh Deri instructed ministry officials to take action in absentia against Abdallah Hajleh at the recommendation of the Shin Bet security service. Deri’s office also asked the Central District Court to bar Hajleh from ever returning to Israel. It wasn’t clear where Hajleh is, or if Israeli authorities know his location. (Times of Israel, Apr. 5, 2019)
GERMANY TO END FUNDING OF EXTREME PRO-IRAN-REGIME GROUP AFTER MEDIA EXPOSÉS (Hamburg) — After a series of exposés in Germany’s top selling paper Bild, the newspaper reported that the interior ministry announced the stoppage of funds for the Shi’ite umbrella organization. Germany’s intelligence agency classifies the Islamic Center in Hamburg – a member of the Shiite organization – as an “instrument” of Khamenei in the federal republic. The association is funded by Germany’s family ministry and the European Union. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 7, 2019)
POLL: A LARGE MAJORITY OF PALESTINIANS REJECTS LAND SWAPS, SECURITY CONTROL OR CUSTOMS UNION IN FUTURE STATE (West Bank and Gaza) — 78.4% of Palestinians polled said they would not accept any Peace Agreement that included land swaps between Israel and the State of Palestine. Furthermore, 83.9% said they would not accept any future Peace Agreement that includes continued Israeli security control over parts of the Palestinian state. 63.4% said it was not acceptable for any future peace deal to include the integration of Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries. (JMCC Jerusalem, Apr. 8, 2019)
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF MUSLIM SCHOLARS URGES IMAMS TO PREACH ARMED JIHAD AGAINST ISRAEL TO SAVE AL-AQSA (Beirut) — On April 1, 2019, the International Union of Muslim Clerics (IUMS) proclaimed Friday, April 5, 2019 as “Day of Support for Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and Gaza,” and urged Muslim preachers worldwide to devote their sermon on that day to this topic. The IUMS also posted a sermon it advised the preachers to deliver on that date, which calls for armed jihad against Israel and includes antisemitic motifs. (MEMRI, Apr. 4, 2019)
CANADA’S ABILITY TO MONITOR RETURNING FOREIGN FIGHTERS IS ‘ON THE MARGINS,’ EX-CSIS CHIEF SAYS (Ottawa) – The former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Richard Fadden said in an interview that 60 to 75 so-called “foreign fighters” have returned to Canada and it’s not immediately clear in all cases what they were involved in overseas. That means they may need to be tracked upon their return and that requires a lot of resources. (National Post, Apr. 2, 2019)
SAUDIS ESCALATE CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT, ARRESTING NINE AND RISKING U.S. IRE (Riyadh) — Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia escalated his crackdown on even the mildest forms of dissent with the arrests this week of at least nine intellectuals, journalists, activists and their family members. Many of the detainees are suspected of having complained to Western journalists and rights groups about the treatment of imprisoned women’s activists. (NYT, Apr. 5, 2019)
U.S. PULLS FORCES FROM LIBYA AS FIGHTING WORSENS AROUND TRIPOLI (Libya) — The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” said Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command as a Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias. A small contingent of American troops was in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities. (National Post, Apr. 7, 2019)