Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links



MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?…It is journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment. To do anything less would be untenable.” — Jim Rutenberg (New York Times, Aug. 7, 2016)


On Topic Links


Why the Next US Prez Won’t be Able to Ignore the Growing Middle East Turmoil: New York Post, Aug. 29, 2016

The Real Hillary Clinton Scandal Is Her Need for Secrecy: Dan O'Sullivan, Vice, Aug. 30, 2016

‘Who Did This to Us?’: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 29, 2016

So You’re a Jew and You’re Starting College? Prepare for Anti-Zionism: Molly Harris, Washington Post, Aug. 23, 2016






"The burkini is not a religious sign, it is the affirmation of political Islam in the public space." — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.  Valls said the court ruling suspending a ban on burkinis in a Mediterranean beach town doesn't put an end to what he says is a fundamental debate. Valls wrote on Facebook that denouncing the burkini "in no way puts into question individual freedom" and is really about denouncing "fatal, retrograde Islamism." The Socialist Prime Minister had come out in favor of the bans and said in his commentary that "to remain silent … is a small renouncement." (New York Times, Aug. 26, 2016)


“We will support all work to clean Syria and Iraq of Daesh…That’s why we are in Jarablus, that’s why we are in Bashiqa [in Iraq]. If necessary, we will not shy away from taking responsibility in the same way in other areas.” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The dramatic escalation of Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian civil war last week aimed to help the Syrian rebels drive I.S. out of the border town of Jarablus. But it also is aimed at U.S.-allied Kurdish forces that have gained control in recent months of most of the territory along the Turkey-Syria border. The fighting pits Turkey, a NATO ally, against a U.S.-backed proxy that is the most effective ground force battling I.S. in Syria in the five-year-old civil war. “We are as determined about the PYD, the separatist terror organization’s Syrian wing,” he said. Ankara views the PYD, which forms the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces, or SDF, as an extension of the Kurdish insurgency that is raging in southeastern Turkey. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 28, 2016)


"We have called upon Turkey to stay focused on the fight against ISIL and not to engage Syrian [Democratic] Forces.” — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Carter, saying the U.S. understands Turkey's "objections" to a Kurdish militia known as the YPG, called on the two sides to stop shooting at one another and retreat to agreed-upon geographical boundaries designed to keep the two sides apart. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to attacks in Turkey. "We do understand that they have historical differences with one another, but American interests are quite clear," Carter said. "We, like they, want to combat ISIL." (Washington Examiner, Aug. 29, 2016)


“The people will leave their homes, they will leave their city…We were forced to make this decision. We had no other choice.” — Hytham Ghazal, manager of a humanitarian office in Daraya, Syria. For nearly four years Daraya had been under siege by the forces of President Assad. But this week, locals and the government struck a rare deal to empty the town. Some 8,400 civilians and 1,300 rebel fighters had been in Daraya before Friday. The town was expected to be empty by Saturday. Daraya has lost an estimated 3,000 people in the war. It was one of the first places to come out against Assad after the uprising in 2011. Its loss represented another significant blow to the rebels, who have seen a string of defeats since Russia intervened on the side of the regime almost a year ago. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 26, 2016)


"They don't even try to hide their crimes…They are beheading them, shooting them, running them over in cars, all kinds of killing techniques, and they don't even try to hide it." — Sirwan Jalal, the director of Iraqi Kurdistan's agency in charge of mass graves. In exclusive interviews, photos and research, AP has documented and mapped 72 mass graves I.S. have scattered across Iraq and Syria. It is the most comprehensive survey so far, with many more expected to be uncovered as I.S.'s territory shrinks. In Syria, AP has obtained locations for 17 mass graves, including one with the bodies of hundreds of members of a single tribe all but exterminated when IS extremists took over their region. (Toronto Sun, Aug. 30, 2016)


"I was number 43. I heard them say '615,' and then one ISIS guy said, 'We're going to eat well tonight.' A man behind us asked, 'Are you ready?' Another person answered 'Yes,' and began shooting at us with a machine-gun. Then they all started to shoot us from behind, going down the row." — Human Rights Watch account of a survivor identified only as A.S. Nearly every area freed from IS control has unmasked new mass graves, like one found by the sports stadium in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. Many of the graves themselves are easy enough to find, most covered with just a thin coating of earth. (Toronto Sun, Aug. 30, 2016)


The terrorists who operate in the name of Islam are not Muslims. They have nothing to do with Islam, and jump on the bandwagon in order to justify their crimes and stupid acts. They are people who have been led astray, and they are destined to dwell in Hell for all eternity. Led by their ignorance, they believe that what they do constitutes Jihad. When was Jihad ever about the killing of innocent people?…They are exploiting some Muslim youth, especially in Europe. They are exploiting their ignorance of the Arabic language and of true Islam, in order to convey their erroneous messages and misleading promises. Can anyone of sound mind believe that the reward for Jihad could be some virgins in Paradise?…The terrorists and extremists are using all possible means to persuade the youth to join them, and to strike at societies that bask in the values of liberty, openness, and tolerance…We are all being targeted.” — King Mohammed VI of Morocco. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 26, 2016)


“In difficult times, such as the present (when oil prices have fallen disastrously), Russians admire proud, ambitious leaders, those willing to establish Russian power and influence in distant places. No one knows that better than Putin…Putin has been taking on the greatest problem in the Middle East, apparently believing that his status can solve it. The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, having talked recently to Putin, said this week that Putin wants to revive peace talks between the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s invited them to meet in Moscow. If that were to work, and Putin were to succeed where a string of American presidents had failed, no one could ever again deny that Russia is a great power.” — Robert Fulford. (National Post, Aug. 26, 2016)


“Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had promised in last year’s general election that the Liberals, if elected, would bring Canada back to its glory days as a UN “peacekeeping” contributor, in obvious contrast to the “war making” of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Earlier this month, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan toured Africa to judge for himself the conflict situations in several countries in an effort to decide where a Canadian mission might be most valuable. The actual country where Canadian soldiers (some 600), aid workers and police will go has not yet been decided, although Mali is said to be favoured. What was notable in the government’s official press release is that the word “peacekeeping” did not appear. The operative word is now “peace operations” because as both Mr. Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion have pointed out on several occasions, any mission to Africa isn’t the “peacekeeping” of old, but far more dangerous and even likely to produce Canadian casualties…Canadians are joining a war in progress. In fact, at least 44 UN troops have been killed by rebels, jihadis or others in ambushes, bombings and IED strikes there over the past several years. With some 13,000 UN troops trying to keep a lid on the multifaceted war in Mali, it’s hard to see how Canada’s contribution of 600 will affect the conflict, although it will give the government here the ability to claim that another election promise has been fulfilled.” — David Bercuson. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 30, 2016)


“Homa Hoodfar, an anthropology professor at Concordia University, is being treated abominably as a pawn in Iranian politics. At this rate, she may well die from illness in a notoriously horrendous prison without having been charged or convicted of any crime…Earlier this year, she visited Iran and was detained by the counterintelligence unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp. She was freed for a while, but not allowed to leave Iran, and then she was moved to the horrific Evin Prison – which may be said to specialize in political prisoners. Appearances suggest that Prof. Hoodfar has been set up by the Revolutionary Guards, as if she were some sinister Western agent trying to undermine Iranian values. Surely President Rouhani should stand up against the Revolutionary Guards to demand Prof. Hoodfar’s freedom.” — Editorial (Globe & Mail, Aug. 30, 2016)







I.S. SAYS SENIOR COMMANDER KILLED IN SYRIA (Damascus) — I.S. said on Tuesday one of its most prominent and longest-serving leaders was killed in what appeared to be an American air strike in Syria, depriving the militant group of the man in charge of directing attacks overseas. Adnani was one of the last living senior members, along with self-appointed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who founded the group and stunned the Middle East by seizing huge tracts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. As I.S.’s spokesman, Adnani was its most visible member. As head of external operations, he was in charge of attacks overseas, including Europe, that have become an increasingly important tactic for the group as its core Iraqi and Syrian territory has been eroded by military losses. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 30, 2016)


IRAN WARNS ENCROACHING U.S. SHIPS WILL BE ‘SEVERELY PUNISHED’ (Tehran) —Iran’s defense minister vowed that any U.S. or other warships that enter Iranian waters would be “severely punished,” as the Pentagon confirmed that a U.S. patrol vessel had fired warning shots after being approached by an Iranian attack boat. In the latest in a series of incidents in the area, an Iranian vessel approached two U.S. Navy ships Thursday, prompting crew on the USS Squall to fire three warning shots. In an earlier incident Thursday, four Iranian vessels approached the destroyer USS Nitze in the Strait of Hormuz in what the Pentagon described as “an unsafe and unprofessional manner.” (CNS, Aug. 26, 2016)


IRAN DEPLOYS AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM AROUND FORDO NUCLEAR SITE (Tehran) — Iran has deployed a Russian-made S-300 air defense system around its underground Fordo nuclear facility. Video posted Sunday showed trucks arriving at the site and missile launchers aimed skyward. Critics of the nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers questioned Iran’s claim that the site was no longer used to enrich uranium. As part of the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to convert the Fordo facility into a technology and science center and to give inspectors access to the site. Russia began delivering the S-300 system to Iran this year under a contract signed in 2007. The delivery had been held up by sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, which were lifted this year. (New York Times, Aug. 29, 2016)


GERMAN GOV’T: NO NORMALIZED RELATIONS WITH IRAN REGIME UNTIL IT RECOGNIZES ISRAEL (Berlin) — Germany’s normalization of relations with Iran are tied to Tehran’s recognition of Israel, according to a letter written in the name of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration. German media reported in July that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel wanted to invite Iran’s President Rouhani to Berlin. In response a Green Party member of the German parliament, called on the Merkel administration to not be lured into a false normalization of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic. Steinmeier was an energetic supporter of the nuclear deal with Iran and slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu for his “very coarse” criticism of the agreement. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 31, 2016)


ATTACK ON AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN AFGHANISTAN LEAVES TWELVE DEAD (Kabul) — An attack on the American University of Afghanistan ended after at least 12 people were killed and dozens were wounded in the assault on the campus on Kabul’s outskirts. The dead included seven students. Three police officers and two security guards were also killed. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the assault but suspicion is likely to fall on the Taliban. The attack came two weeks after two university staffers, an American and an Australian, were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen driving. Their abductors were men dressed in Afghan military uniforms. Last month, Kabul was shaken by a massive suicide bombing that struck a peaceful rally by Afghanistan’s minority ethnic Hazara community, killing more than 80 people and wounding hundreds. (National Post, Aug. 25, 2016)


CANADIAN SHOT BY BANGLADESH POLICE LINKED TO CALGARY TERRORISTS (Dhaka) — A Canadian man killed by Bangladesh police for his suspected role in plotting a deadly terrorist attack at a Dhaka café was linked to a cluster of radicals from Calgary who are collectively responsible for more than 70 deaths overseas. Bangladeshi officials believe Tamim Chowdhury, 30, was the architect behind last month’s attack that killed 24 in the name of I.S. Gunmen stormed a popular bakery, taking hostages, separating out those who identified as Muslim from the rest and executing a number of patrons for being foreign non-Muslims. (Globe & Mail, Aug. 28, 2016)


CANADA A TERROR TARGET: GOODALE (Ottawa) — Canada’s “principal terrorist threat” comes from those inspired by extremist ideologies to conduct attacks, the government said in its latest update on the security challenges facing the country. Released by Pubic Safety Minister Ralph Goodale just over two weeks after a failed I.S.-inspired suicide bombing in Ontario, the report said I.S. and its sibling al-Qaida “continue to appeal to certain individuals in Canada.” Some promote violence online, radicalize their peers, recruit and fundraise, it said. “Others may consider travelling abroad to join a terrorist group or conducting terrorist attacks themselves.” As of the end of 2015, about 180 “individuals with a nexus to Canada” were suspected of participating in terrorist activities overseas, up from 130 the previous year, it said. More than half were thought to be in Turkey, Iraq or Syria. (National Post, Aug. 25, 2016)


BRIT KILLED IN AUSTRALIA STABBING, SUSPECT SHOUTED ‘ALLAHU AKBAR (Sydney) — A 21-year old woman from Britain was stabbed to death in an Australian youth hostel by a man who reported shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. The victim was Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Derbyshire. A dog was also killed in the attack and a 30-year-old British man was severely injured. The attack took place in Queensland near Townsville. Allahu Akbar is an Arabic phrase meaning “God is the Greatest” and used in a variety of religious contexts. It has been adopted by jihadists as a slogan to shout before they strike. A 29-year-old French man was arrested for the murder. (Clarion Project, Aug. 24, 2016)


HUNGARY TO BUILD STRONGER ANTI-MIGRANT FENCE (Budapest) — Hungary's Prime Minister says the country will build a new, "massive" fence on its southern borders to defend against a possible surge in the number of migrants. Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who earlier said migrants were "poison," said that there may soon be a "greater need for security" and the fortified barrier would be able to stop "several hundreds of thousands of people," if needed. He did not say when construction could start. Hungary built fences protected with razor wire on its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia last year, when nearly 400,000 people passed through the country. (Fox News, Aug. 26, 2016)


POLISH SOCCER FANS TORCH 'JEWISH' EFFIGIES (Lodz) — A group of soccer hooligans in Poland torched effigies representing Jews and displayed banners calling for Jews to be burned in a shocking display during a match. The incident occurred when dozens of fans supporting the Widzew Łódź side rallied against the town rival ŁKS Łódź, which is often derided as "Jewish" by opposing teams' fans. The rally took place ahead of the derby match at a local train station in the central Polish city that used to boast a large Jewish population prior to WWII. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2016) 


JEWISH GRAVES VANDALIZED IN BELFAST (Belfast) — 17 Jewish graves were destroyed and vandalized in what appears to have been an organized attack inside a Belfast cemetery. The attack took place on Friday and up to eight youths, some using hammers, were involved. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has confirmed it is investigating the incident as a hate crime. The graves, some of which date back to the 1870s, are in a walled-off section of Belfast city cemetery between the Whiterock and Falls roads. Antisemitism has been on the rise in Europe in recent years and Ireland has not been immune. In 2014, windows were repeatedly smashed at a Belfast synagogue. In 2013, the Teachers Union of Ireland voted to institute an academic boycott against the state of Israel. (Arutz Sheva, Aug. 29, 2016)


AIRLINE RESTORES "CONTROVERSIAL ISRAELI DESSERT" AFTER BACKLASH (Brussels) — Responding to pressure from Israel, Brussels Airlines has reinstated supplying the Israeli Ahva brand halva on its flights. Brussels Airlines had stopped serving Israeli-made halva on flights after a complaint was launched by a Palestinian activist last week. The activist was traveling from Ben Gurion Airport to Brussels when he noticed the dessert being served was made by the Ahva brand. He informed other activists about the product and they complained to the airline, which conceded to their request. In a new letter sent by the airline to the Israeli Ambassador to Belgium, the airline stated that, “Ahva remains one of our trusted providers…we will continue to have Ahva products on our flights, especially in light of the critical role it plays in the (Israeli) community.” (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 31, 2016)


NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT FUNDS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING BDS CAMPAIGNS (Oslo) — The Norwegian government has been contributing to an organization that funds NGOs active in promoting anti-Israel boycotts, the watchdog organization NGO Monitor reported. According to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, NOK 5 million (over $600,000) was allocated to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat in the second half of 2016, half of which has already been paid. The organization gave $5.78 million to NGOs supporting BDS in the past four years, amounting to over half of its operating budget of $10.38 million. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2016)


FIFTY-STATE CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISRAEL BDS LAUNCHED BY STATE GOVERNORS (New York) — The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has launched a bipartisan campaign against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling on fifty state governors to condemn BDS and reaffirm that Israel is an indispensable U.S. ally. The campaign, called Governors United Against BDS, is co-chaired by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Governor Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut. AJC’s declaration emphasizes that BDS seeks “to isolate Israel—a pluralistic nation with deep cultural, familial, security, educational, scientific and commercial bonds with our state and with the United States as a whole—rather than recognize the profound mutual benefits of our engagement with it.” (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 30, 2016)


JEWISH COMIC ACTOR WILDER DIES AT 83 (Budapest) — Gene Wilder, one of America’s most beloved actors, passed away on at the age of 83 from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. Best known for playing the title role in 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, Wilder also shone in classic comedies such as “The Producers”, “Young Frankenstein” and “Blazing Saddles”, which were all collaborations with Jewish producer and actor Mel Brooks. Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Wisconsin to Jewish parents. He started his acting career on the stage before moving into film, going on to star in over 20 movies and television shows. In a less-known role, Wilder played Rabbi Avram Belinsky, a Polish rabbi, in the 1979 film “Frisco Kid”. (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 30, 2016)


ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1929 HEBRON MASSACRE (Hebron) — Shabbat marked the 87th (Hebrew calendar) anniversary of the horrific 1929 Hebron Massacre. Rampaging Arab mobs killed 67 Jewish residents and yeshiva students in the biblical holy city, where the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people are entombed and King David ruled. Three days later British soldiers evacuated the surviving remnant of the ancient Jewish community. Hebron was Judenrein. So it remained for 50 years, until 10 women and 35 children, led by Miriam Levinger and Sarah Nachshon, entered Beit Hadassah, the former medical clinic in the heart of the destroyed Jewish Quarter. Hebron, Mrs. Levinger proclaimed, “will no longer be Judenrein.” (Algemeiner, Aug. 28, 2016)




On Topic Links


Why the Next US Prez Won’t be Able to Ignore the Growing Middle East Turmoil: New York Post, Aug. 29, 2016—As if the Middle East weren’t explosive enough, there are fresh signs of new danger. The next US president, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, will have his or her hands full.

The Real Hillary Clinton Scandal Is Her Need for Secrecy: Dan O'Sullivan, Vice, Aug. 30, 2016—"Now's a good time for a question, right?" wisecracked a journalist from the press scrum, as two chocolatiers flanked the candidate. The scene was yet another Hillary Clinton campaign photo opportunity, this time at Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno, Nevada, just after she denounced Donald Trump for his association with the online racists of the "alt right." It was, in the words of CNN's Dan Merica, "a great chance to answer questions."

‘Who Did This to Us?’: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 29, 2016—Bernard Lewis once made the point that there are two basic ways in which people and nations respond to adversity and decline. The first, the great historian wrote in 2002, is to ask “Who did this to us?” The second is, “What did we do wrong?”

So You’re a Jew and You’re Starting College? Prepare for Anti-Zionism: Molly Harris, Washington Post, Aug. 23, 2016—Congratulations, new college freshmen! Welcome to what will undoubtedly be some of the most exciting years of your life. Get ready to meet new people, learn things that fascinate you, and figure out who you are and who you want to be. If you’re Jewish, you should probably also prepare yourself for the various forms of anti-Israel sentiment, and maybe even anti-Semitism, you’re likely to encounter on your new college campus.