WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “Is Trump Driving the U.S. Toward the Brink of Fascism?” — ““Make America Great Again” is the ultimate fascist statement. It promises to restore what’s lost and panders to the urge for enemies to blame…Adolf Hitler capitalized on those fears by appealing to nationalism, bigotry and suspicion of “the others,” in that case primarily, Jews…Like Hitler, Mr. Trump promises an economic miracle that will restore the good-paying jobs and the hope that aggrieved Americans have lost. He proclaims himself a nationalist, a thinly-veiled synonym for racist, and fabricates scapegoats, in this case migrants, minorities, Muslims and political adversaries. Second, in a fascist state, institutions that stand in the way of authoritarianism are undermined. Science and experts are rejected in favour of the all-knowing demagogue. Critical thinking is discarded in favour of simplistic solutions delivered in simplistic language. Nationalism replaces multilateralism.” — Douglas Frantz. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 2, 2018)

On Topic Links

After Midterm Campaign Marred by anti-Semitism, US Jews Divided as Ever: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2018

BDS Debates Rage on College Campuses: Alexander Joffe, Algemeiner, Nov. 2, 2018

Will Clinton, Schumer, Booker Finally Condemn Farrakhan?: Shmuley Boteach, Jeruslaem Post, Nov. 5, 2018

Terrified Jew Chased and Attacked in Jerusalem: Jerusalem Online, Nov. 5, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES 

“Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!” — US President Donald Trump. Widely viewed as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, Tuesday’s midterm results offered a split decision that revealed deep tensions in the American electorate. Trump stayed quiet for much of election night as Republicans maintained their hold on the Senate and Democrats were on track to claim the House — a shift all but certain to redefine his presidency. (Times of Israel, Nov. 7, 2018)

“The Blue Wave that would have shaken President Trump’s authority and legitimized the frenzied assault on him by the Democrats and their national media echo chamber did not happen, as the president gained several Senate seats to secure his judicial nominations and authority in foreign policy. He also had the pleasure of seeing off the last of the vocal Never Trumpers in his own party and now exercises more control over the Republicans than has any previous leader of that party since Ronald Reagan, if not Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Democrats can certainly celebrate their narrow takeover of the House of Representatives, but they will have to sort out the problems between the Trump-hating Resistance and those who want to work in the system…It is the final bust of any attempt to pretend that Donald Trump isn’t a real president, even as it wears out his effort to drain the swamp whose denizens, in both parties, he ran against.” — Conrad Black. (National Post, Nov. 7, 2018) 

“We know Israel is a democratic state in a dangerous neighbourhood. And… we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against aggression – whether it is from Iran or from terrorist groups such as Hamas.”— Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on the second day of her official visit to Israel as part of a Middle East tour. Freeland met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where she called Canada’s support of Israel’s security “unwavering” and “ironclad.” “We support Israel’s right to live in peace, and we are committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” Freeland began her remarks to Netanyahu by paying tribute to the victims of the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, calling the incident “a reminder to all of us that our shared objectives – peace, security, and acceptance – are fragile works in progress and we must continue to work together to combat hate and prejudice.” (CJN, Nov. 2, 2018)

“This day is a historic day. This is the day on which the United States, led by President Trump, imposed the most severe sanctions on Iran, the most severe sanctions imposed on Iran since the beginning of the effort to stop its aggression.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The reinstatement of Iranian sanctions is a great day for Israel and its future, Netanyahu said as he lauded in particular the Trump Administration’s decision to include the Belgium based SWIFT financial messaging service in its economic war with Tehran. In light of that decision, SWIFT said it is suspending some unspecified Iranian banks’ access to its messaging system in the interest of the stability and integrity of the global financial system. “Iran is the greatest threat to Israel, the Middle East and to world peace. You know that for many years I have devoted my time and energy to the war against the Iranian threat. In this matter I went almost against the whole world. Today we see the results of this long and continuous struggle,” said the Prime Minister. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2018)

“I promise you that doing business with Iran in defiance of our sanctions will ultimately be a much more painful business decision than pulling out of Iran.” — Mike Pompeo. Speaking hours after sweeping new sanctions went into force, Pompeo, the US secretary of state, warned businesses not to use a special channel being set up by the EU to allow ongoing trade with Tehran. The UK, France, Germany and the EU are eager to see businesses continuing to deal with Iran, believing that if Iran does not see economic benefits from the 2015 nuclear agreement it will scrap the deal and resume enriching uranium. European powers said they would push forward with a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a financial mechanism designed to allow firms to get around American restrictions. The US sanctioned 700 Iranian people, businesses, aircraft, and ships in what it said was the “largest ever single-day action targeting Iran”. (Telegraph, Nov. 5, 2018)

“We are in an economic war situation. We are standing up to a bullying enemy…Yesterday, Saddam was in front us; today Trump is front of us. There is no difference. We must resist and win.” — Iranian President Rouhani, invoking Iran’s 1980s war with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Iranian state television broadcast video of air defense systems and anti-aircraft batteries in two-day military maneuvers underway across the country’s north. Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis. Its national currency, the rial, now trades at 150,000 to one U.S. dollar; a year ago, it was about 40,500 to $1. The economic chaos sparked mass anti-government protests last year, resulting in nearly 5,000 reported arrests and at least 25 people being killed. Sporadic demonstrations still continue. (Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2018)

“I understand how the enemies have plotted against the Iranian people and I would like to stay alongside you to stop their plots.” — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan led Iranians in the chant “Death to America” while on a solidarity visit to Iran, reported The Algemeiner. The visit came ahead of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran scheduled to go into effect November 5. The event featuring Farrakhan was held on the 39th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. Farrakhan also led the crowd in the chant “Death to Israel.” He recently referred to Jews as the “synagogue of Satan” and “termites.” Referring to America as the “enemy,” Farrakhan declared in Iran, “America has never been a democracy.” Farrakhan ripped into America’s support for Saudi Arabia, Iran’s mortal enemy, declaring, “Satan [America] seeks to divide Muslims and wants them to kill each other, while God tells us in the Quran to be united.” Farrakhan railed against Israel, praised women’s rights in Iran and lauded the mandatory hijab rule in the Islamic Republic. (Clarion Project, Nov. 5, 2018)

“Anti-Semitism did not begin in 2016. It’s been going on for many centuries – about 25 centuries…And Donald Trump is not responsible for the anti-Semitism that has existed really in the United States in an increased fashion over the last couple of decades.” — Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Jewish supporters of Trump — and especially Israeli officials — defended the president in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. They pointed to his condemnation of antisemitism following the tragedy. And Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, listing a litany of actions welcomed by the Israeli government, said that criticism of Trump following Pittsburgh was “unfair.” (Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2018)

“My heart is broken for the families in Pittsburgh. It’s hard to even imagine such senselessness. As a Jew, an American and a human, I’m devastated. We are with you, Pittsburgh.” — New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, the day after the synagogue massacre. Edelman concluded his tweet with the word Tanchumim – condolences, spelled out in Hebrew. Following his team’s 31-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers, Edelman again expressed his support for the shooting victims, speaking to reporters in the Patriots’ locker room while wearing an Israeli baseball cap. (Jewish Press, Nov. 5, 2018)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES 

MUSLIM WOMEN MAKE HISTORY WITH CONGRESSIONAL WINS (Washington) — For the first time in U.S. history, two Muslim women were elected to Congress during Tuesday’s midterm elections, Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Tlaib has voiced support for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, slashing US military aid to Israel and efforts to boycott the Jewish state. Omar, a Somalia-born activist, easily won the election for the Minneapolis-area congressional district being vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison. Though she once called Israel an “apartheid regime” that was guilty of “evil doings,” Omar has softened her tone recently, coming out against BDS and voicing support for a two-state solution. (Times of Israel, Nov. 7, 2018) 

ISRAEL THWARTED 480 PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACKS IN PAST YEAR (Jerusalem) — Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman said his agency’s thwarting of 480 substantial terror attacks in the last year was a big part of holding together a fragile quiet between Israel and the Palestinians. Argaman also referred to what appeared to be 590 potential lone wolf attacks that the Shin Bet had prevented and busting 219 Hamas cells. Despite the successes, Argaman said that 10 Israelis had been killed and 56 injured in terror attacks in 2018 as compared to 9 killed and 66 injured in 2017. Nine of the 10 Israelis killed in 2018 came from lone wolf attacks. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2018)

ATTACK AT JOSEPH’S TOMB (Nablus) — Thousands of Jewish pilgrims flocked to the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus, Samaria, heavily escorted by security forces with the intention of praying there, but they were attacked by Palestinian protesters. The Palestinians threw stones and a Molotov cocktail at an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) vehicle that was charged with crowd dispersal, the military spokesman said. Inside the Tomb, the soldiers discovered two explosive devices, which were neutralized by the IDF bomb squad. No injuries were recorded. (Jerusalem Online, Nov. 7, 2018) 

BRAZIL’S BOLSONARO CONFIRMS EMBASSY MOVE TO JERUSALEM (Rio de Janeiro) — Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro confirmed that he intends to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Netanyahu enthusiastically welcomed the announcement: “I congratulate my friend, the president-elect of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem. This is a historic, correct and moving step.” The embassy move squarely aligns Bolsonaro with US President Trump, and bolsters his image as a “Tropical Trump.” (Times of Israel, Nov. 2, 2018) 

CHINESE VP VISITS ISRAEL INNOVATION CONFERENCE (Tel Aviv) — Last week, Chinese VP Wang Qishan led a large delegation to Israel to comprise the Chinese side of the fourth China-Israel Innovation Committee conference. The delegation included Jack Ma, co-founder of the Alibaba Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. The event was designed to highlight Israel’s technological innovation in the areas of digital health, food and agriculture technologies, and cybersecurity.  The committee was established in 2014 to bolster Israel-China cooperation in several domains related to innovation cooperation and involves ministries and government agencies from both countries, as well as leading universities and research institutions. (BESA, Nov. 5, 2018)

PA PUNISHES THOSE THAT SELL HOUSES TO ISRAELIS (Jerusalem) — The Palestinian Authority is pressuring large clans in east Jerusalem to shun anyone selling houses and land to Jews in the eastern part of the city. Recently, the larger clans in east Jerusalem held gatherings where they threatened to banish anyone who sells buildings and lands to Jews. Those selling are risking death. The PA has released Issam Akel, a resident of Beit Hanina, who was held in custody at the Palestinian interrogations facility in Ramallah on suspicion of selling houses to Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem. Akel, who has U.S. citizenship, was released as a result of Israeli and U.S. pressure. (Jerusalem Online, Nov. 4, 2018)

PARIS POLICE PROBING ASSAULTS ON JEWISH TEENS AS HATE CRIMES (Paris) — Two Jewish teenagers were assaulted in separate incidents on the streets of Paris in what police are investigating as possible hate crimes. A male victim, 19, was attacked by three men in Paris’ 19th District after noticing that one of the assailants was trying to steal his wallet and computer from his bag. The incident involving a teenage girl occurred the previous day in Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris with a sizable Jewish community. She was hit forcefully in the back by a man who spoke Arabic to her. Separately, unidentified individuals wrote “Long live Palestine, Jews out” on a Paris synagogue. Worshipers discovered the graffiti on Saturday on the wall of a synagogue in Les Lilas, an eastern suburb of Paris. (JTA, Nov. 5, 2018)

BROOKLYN SYNAGOGUE ATTACKED AS JEWS PRAY INSIDE (New York) — A gang of some half a dozen teenagers attacked a small synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood towards the conclusion of the Sabbath. They hurled a metal pole through one of the glass windows of the lower-floor synagogue, shattering it. No physical injuries were reported in the attack. Last week a former Democratic volunteer on the Obama campaign broke into the historic Union Temple in Prospect Heights last week to draw a swastika on the door and “Kill All Jews” in the building’s stairwell. James Polite, age 26, was arrested this past Friday in connection with the incident. (Jewish Press, Nov. 5, 2018)

PROFESSOR: BDS PANEL AT U. OF MICHIGAN WAS AN ‘UNRELENTINGLY ANTI-ISRAEL PROPAGANDA FETE’ (Ann Arbor) — A professor at the University of Michigan said a recent panel hosted by the school on the BDS campaign was “a totally one-sided propaganda fete.” Victor Lieberman, who teaches a popular history course on the Arab-Israeli conflict, said he was one of some 70 people who attended last week’s “Teach-In Town Hall,” which was organized by U-M’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) after the university sanctioned a BDS-supporting professor who denied a letter of recommendation to a student who sought to study in Israel. CMENAS said the event would include a “decidedly pro-BDS” panel. (Algemeiner, Nov. 5, 2018) 

NYU STUDENT SENATE TO VOTE ON BDS MEASURE (New York) — A resolution calling on New York University to divest from companies that it says are associated with mistreating Palestinians was presented to the student government. The resolution was presented by three student senators who are affiliated with Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. The resolution calls on the university to require General Electric, Caterpillar, and Lockheed Martin to cease their involvement “in the violation of Palestinian human rights and human rights globally,” and divestment from the companies if they do not comply. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 5, 2018)

U.K. OPENS HATE-CRIME INQUIRY INTO ANTISEMITISM IN LABOUR (London) — After several months of scandal within Britain’s opposition Labour Party over its handling of antisemitism in its ranks, investigators in London said they have opened a criminal inquiry into accusations that some party members posted antisemitic threats online. Police said officers were looking into online posts by Labour members that amounted to more than just offensive comments. The online posts were part of a dossier of Facebook comments and other statements that included 45 cases of suspected antisemitism by Labour members. Four warranted a criminal investigation as hate crimes. (New York Times, Nov. 2, 2018)

GUNMEN IN EGYPT ATTACK BUS CARRYING CHRISTIANS (Cairo) — Gunmen said to be from I.S. opened fire on a bus carrying worshipers returning from a remote Coptic Christian monastery in upper Egypt, killing at least eight and wounding 13. Friday’s violence comes more than a year after a similar assault on Christian pilgrims traveling to the same monastery. In May 2017, gunmen attacked buses carrying worshipers, leaving at least 28 people dead. Since December 2017, the last major assault on Christians, there has been a relative lull in the targeting of the Coptic community. Since 2016, I.S. suicide bombers have targeted churches in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta. Last month, an Egyptian military court sentenced to death 17 people convicted in those attacks. (Washington Post, Nov. 2, 2018)

BLASPHEMY CASE WOMAN IN PAKISTAN SEEKS CANADIAN ASSISTANCE (Islamabad) — The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted after spending eight years on death row on charges of blasphemy has appealed to Trump for refuge. Ashiq Masih, who is married to Asia Bibi, whose case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, also appealed to the UK and Canada for assistance. The Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) party blocked major roads in Pakistan’s biggest cities for three days, calling for the murder of the Supreme Court judges who acquitted Bibi. The TLP called off the protests late on Friday after striking a deal with the government. Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim. (CBC, Nov. 4, 2018)

I.S. MASS GRAVES MAY HOLD UP TO 12,000 BODIES (Baghdad) — More than 200 mass graves containing between 6,000 and 12,000 bodies have been found in Iraq from the time of I.S.’s three-year reign, U.N. investigators said. The 202 graves verified by investigators dot northern Iraq and are a “legacy of I.S.’s terror,” according to a report. The graves date from 2014 to 2017 when the terrorists ruled some of Iraq’s largest cities and towns. Several graves found in Iraq’s Salahuddin province contain the remains of victims of the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre, when the I.S. killed around 1,700 Iraqi security forces and army cadets. (National Post, Nov. 6, 2018)

IRAN ACCUSES ISRAEL OF LAUNCHING NEW CYBER ATTACK (Tehran) — Iran accused Israel of a new cyberattack on the Islamic Republic, the same day that sanctions were reimposed. This comes days after Iran said it had neutralized a new version of the Stuxnet virus. Telecommunication Minister Jahromi blamed Israel for the attack, saying it targeted Iran’s communications infrastructure and that Iran would sue for the cyberattack via international bodies. Iran also reportedly neutralized a potent new version of the Stuxnet virus, which in 2011 destroyed thousands of centrifuges which were involved in Iran’s nuclear program. While no country has acknowledged being behind the attack, it was believed to have been carried out by the US and Israel. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2018)

FORMER NAZI SS CAMP GUARD GOES ON TRIAL (Muenster) — A 94-year-old former SS enlisted man went on trial in Germany, facing hundreds of counts of accessory to murder for alleged crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp. Johann Rehbogen appeared alert as the presiding judge asked him questions. Rehbogen is accused of working as a guard at the camp east of Danzig, today the Polish city of Gdansk, from June 1942 to September 1944. There is no evidence linking him to a specific crime, but over 60,000 people were killed at Stutthof and prosecutors argue that as a guard, he was an accessory to at least hundreds of those deaths. Rehbogen, a former SS Sturmmann, does not deny serving in the camp during the war, but has told investigators he was unaware of the killings and did not participate in them. (Ynet, Nov. 7, 2018)

ELBIT WILL PROVIDE MARITIME UAS TO EU MARITIME SAFETY AGENCY (Haifa) — Elbit Systems announced it was awarded a framework contract to provide maritime Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) patrol services to be provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to countries in the EU. If fully ordered, the total contract value is €59 million (approximately $68 million). Elbit Systems will lease and operate its HermesTM 900 Maritime Patrol and its Ground Control Station. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 1, 2018)

OCTOBER WAS BEST EVER MONTH FOR  TOURISM (Tel Aviv) — The Tourism Ministry said that more tourists had visited Israel in October than ever before, with a total of about 486,000 registered entries. This represents a 19% increase over April 2018 numbers, which held the previous record for entrances, and a 14% increase from October of last year. Tourists spent 2.5 billion shekels in October alone, adding to a total of 18 billion shekels that foreigners have spent in Israel since the beginning of the year. In a year-over-year comparison, 65% more Hungarians and 50% more Italians visited Israel in October, and the country saw a 40% increase of visitors from Poland, the Netherlands and Romania. The ministry spent an average of 47% more on marketing in these countries. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2018) 

On Topic Links

After Midterm Campaign Marred by anti-Semitism, US Jews Divided as Ever: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2018—Do American Jews agree on anything anymore? It seems like they have been asking the question for years — or at least since 2016. And in the campaign leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, divisions have become even more pronounced.

BDS Debates Rage on College Campuses: Alexander Joffe, Algemeiner, Nov. 2, 2018 —BDS news in October continued to be dominated by examples of institutions being subverted and manipulated by the BDS movement. Earlier this year, two University of Michigan instructors (one a teaching assistant and the other an assistant professor, John Cheney-Lippold) rescinded offers to write letters of recommendation upon discovering the students planned to study in Israel.

Will Clinton, Schumer, Booker Finally Condemn Farrakhan?: Shmuley Boteach, Jeruslaem Post, Nov. 5, 2018—We’ve spent the best part of a week in grief for 11 martyred Jews in Pittsburgh and largely hearing that they died because of Donald Trump. My good friend Bret Stephens, The New York Times Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist, wrote, “The blood that flowed in Pittsburgh is on [Trump’s] hands also.”

Terrified Jew Chased and Attacked in Jerusalem: Jerusalem Online, Nov. 5, 2018— Posted on Twitter a few days ago there are hundreds of Arabic speakers celebrating this brief video clip of a Jew, wearing his prayer shawl and tefillin, running for his life down a Jerusalem alley as Arabs throw things at him. He trips and loses his yarmulka as Arabs jeer.