WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: PRESIDENT TRUMP, WILL YOU SAVE THE JEWS?“I don’t expect Israel to just up and leave the West Bank without a Palestinian partner for a secure peace, which Israel doesn’t now have. But legalizing this land grab by settlers deep in Palestinian areas is not an act of security — it will actually create security problems. It is an act of moral turpitude that will make it even harder to ever find that Palestinian partner and will undermine the moral foundations of the state. This is about right versus wrong…That debate will tear apart virtually every synagogue, Jewish organization and Jewish group on every campus in America, and around the world. Israel will divide world Jewry. There is only one person who can now stop this disaster — you. Bibi & Co. used the G.O.P. to outflank Obama. But if you, with your party, make clear that there must be absolutely no Jewish settlements beyond the blocks already designated for a two-state solution, you could make a huge difference. This is on your watch. President Trump, you may not be interested in Jewish history, but Jewish history is now interested in you.”— Thomas L. Friedman. (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)

 

Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

 

"U.S. is Determined to Stand up to the UN’s Anti-Israel Bias" – Nikki Haley (Video): UNWatch, Feb. 16, 2017

The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 20, 2017

President Trump's Iran Dilemma: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Feb. 27, 2017

Trump in Denial Over Rising American Antisemitism: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 19, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“We have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms…The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” — U.S. President Donald Trump. The condemnation came a day after bomb threats were issued against Jewish community centers across the United States for the fourth time in just over a month, and after gravestones were toppled at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. (Times of Israel, Feb. 21, 2017)

 

“I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I’m here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.” — US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. Anti-Israel bias at the UN, Haley declared, was “long overdue for change. The United States will not hesitate to speak out against these biases in defense of our friend and ally, Israel.” The video of Haley’s statement went viral in pro-Israel circles around the world over the weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a link to the video on Facebook and said, “US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, thank you for your unequivocal support for Israel! It’s time to put an end to the absurdity in the United Nations.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 20, 2017)

 

"The enemy should not be mistaken in its assessments, and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake.” — General Mohammad Pakpour, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ ground forces. On Wednesday, the Revolutionary Guards concluded three days of exercises with rockets, artillery, tanks and helicopters, weeks after Trump warned that he had put Tehran "on notice" over its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29. "The message of these exercises … for world arrogance is not to do anything stupid," said Pakpour, "everyone could see today what power we have on the ground." The Guards said they test-fired "advanced rockets" and used drones in the three-day exercises which were held in central and eastern Iran. As tensions also mounted with Israel, a military analyst at Tasnim said that Iran-allied Hezbollah could use Iranian made Fateh 110 missiles to attack the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona from inside Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 2017)

 

"I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program…Iran is a bad actor in the greatest sense of the word when it comes to the region. To Iran, I say, if you want us to treat you differently then stop building missiles, test-firing them in defiance of UN resolution and writing 'Death to Israel' on the missile. That's a mixed message." — Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Republican senators are planning to introduce legislation to impose further sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile tests. The Trump administration recently imposed new sanctions on 25 individuals and companies connected to Iran's ballistic missile program and those providing support to the Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force. Iranian officials have warned the U.S. against attacking Iran, with one senior official recently threatening his country would attack Tel Aviv if the U.S. "makes a mistake". (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 20, 2017)

 

"… by Allah's permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime… The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine.” — Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Speaking at a recent conference in Tehran, Khamenei called for Israel's destruction and referred to the Jewish state as a "cancerous tumor." For years, senior Iranian figures have called for Israel's destruction. Iran has invested considerable resources to prop up terrorist proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, to militarily confront Israel. Iran also finances and explicitly encourages Palestinians to engage in individual terrorist initiatives. (IPT, Feb. 21, 2017)

 

“Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do…I owe it to you to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms…America will meet its responsibilities.” — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Mattis, echoing his boss in Washington, warned that the amount of U.S. support for NATO could depend on whether other countries meet their own spending commitments. “If your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” he said. (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)

 

“For all of President Trump’s image as a disruptor of the status quo, his approach to the Middle East so far has really involved returning to the traditional U.S. approach toward the region that President Obama had upended — viz. maintaining strong relations with our traditional Arab and Israel allies and opposing Iran and other radical Islamic entities.” — Michael Makovsky, chief executive of JINSA. “Too much was made of Trump’s comment about a one- or two-state solution being okay with him — he clearly was just stating his intention not to impose a solution,” he said. “This was a sober recognition of reality, and offers a greater chance of a more realistic deal between the two parties.” (Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2017)

 

“There is this sense of urgency and energy that I feel now that reminds me of being 29 and in a very different situation: in the middle of a revolutionary situation in Russia…I’m not saying it’s a revolution now. But there is this uncertainty about what is happening minute to minute, day to day…There is this sense that every day is going to bring something startling, if not calamitous.” — David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. Remnick was a correspondent in Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union. For journalists anxious about the state of their profession, there is a renewed sense of mission. Newspapers are seeing a sharp rise in subscriptions. Television news, once dismissed as a dinosaur in the internet age, is thriving. (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)

 

“…cable news personality Sally Kohn tweeted what she called a “straightforward” plan that would eject Donald Trump and install Hillary Clinton into the presidency…Anyone with middle-school knowledge of the presidential chain of command should know that impeaching both Trump and his vice president would not, actually, lead to a “constitutional crisis” or a “special election.” It would lead directly…to President Paul Ryan. Whom Clinton would be welcome to challenge in the next election…When comedian Sarah Silverman daydreamed on Twitter, “ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE,” does she understand that she’s calling for a banana republic-style military coup in a constitutional democracy?” — Karol Markowicz. (New York Post, Feb. 19, 2017)

 

“God gave orders to kill every infidel…Oh worshippers of the cross … the soldiers of the state are watching you.” — Video released by an I.S. affiliate. Christians are jihadi’s “favorite prey” of I.S., according to a video showing the suicide bomber, identified as Abu Abdallah al-Masri, who slaughtered nearly 30 people in a Coptic cathedral late last year. A narrator rails in the 20-minute clip against Egypt’s nine million Christians, singling out figures like the Coptic pope and Christian businessmen. Al-Masri — which means “The Egyptian”— was the nom-de-guerre I.S. gave the terrorist behind the suicide bombing at St. Mark’s Cathedral. I.S. claimed responsibility for the bombing, its deadliest attack in Egypt outside the Sinai Peninsula, where it has been waging an insurgency since 2013. “Finally, to my brothers in captivity: rejoice, you believers, do not falter or grieve. I swear to God we will very soon liberate Cairo and free you from captivity,” the terrorist said. “We will come bearing explosives, I swear we will, so rejoice you believers.” (New York Post, Feb. 20, 2017)

 

“Another member of the Cabinet, Winston Churchill, was to write in 1920 of how: ‘We owe to the Jews a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together.’ Compared to that extraordinary contribution, the Palestinian Arabs have produced very little of note for civilisation. For the Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one per-cent of the world’s population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32% of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32% for Physics, 39% for Economics and 29% for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects being murdered in Hitler’s gas chambers during the Holocaust in the Second World War. Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide.” — Andrew Roberts (Dajia, Feb. 21, 2017)

 

“There was a time when the West knew what it was about. It did so because it thought about itself—often in freshman Western Civ classes. It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome. It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals. It was not ashamed of its prosperity. If it was arrogant and sinful, as all civilizations are, it also had a tradition of remorse and doubt to temper its edges and broaden its horizons. It cultivated the virtue of skepticism while avoiding the temptation of cynicism. And it believed all of this was worth defending—in classrooms and newspapers and statehouses and battlefields. We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a (Marine) Le Pen or a (Sergei) Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.” — Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2017)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

PAKISTAN SHRINE BOMBING KILLS SCORES (Islamabad) — A suicide bomber turned a spiritual dance celebration at a revered religious shrine into a slaughterhouse last week, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 250 in the worst act of terrorism to hit Pakistan in months. At least 50 of the wounded were critically hurt in the explosion at the Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan. Many of the victims were women. I.S. announced that its branch in the region had carried out the attack. I.S. which regards members of other Muslim groups as nonbelievers deserving death, also claimed responsibility for an attack on a Sufi shrine in southwestern Pakistan in November. (New York Times, Feb. 16, 2017)

 

SOMALIA BLAST 'KILLS 20' (Mogadishu) — At least 20 people died Sunday when a car bomb exploded in the Somali capital, as Shabaab Islamists threatened to escalate attacks in a "vicious war" against the new government. In the deadliest attack since the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed — nicknamed Farmajo — the vehicle exploded at a crowded intersection. The Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group had not claimed the attack, however it came on the same day as the group threatened to wage "vicious war" against Farmajo and his new government. (I24, Feb. 19, 2017)

 

POLL: PALESTINIAN SUPPORT FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION DROPS (Jerusalem) — A majority of Palestinians do not support a two-state solution, a survey found. The survey found that 44 percent of Palestinians back the two-state solution, a decline from 51 percent who supported this approach in a similar survey from June. The later survey had 59 percent of Israelis supporting two states, down from 55 percent in the earlier poll. The survey also found that just over one-third of Palestinians and a majority of Arab Israelis supported one state as well as a confederation, while 24 percent of Israelis backed one state and 28 percent a confederation. (JTA, Feb. 16, 2017)

 

HEZBOLLAH SAID TO HAVE OBTAINED ‘GAME-CHANGING’ ANTI-SHIP MISSILES (Beirut) — The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has obtained advanced Russian-made anti-ship missiles, potentially threatening Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea and the Israeli Navy’s ability to operate in the area, according to a report. If true, Hezbollah’s possession of the Yakhont missiles would represent a serious threat to Israeli interests in the Mediterranean. The missiles would give Hezbollah the ability to strike Israel’s gas production platforms in the Mediterranean, a threat Israel reportedly intends to counter by installing maritime versions of the Iron Dome missile defense system on naval vessels as part of the Israeli Navy’s efforts to secure the country’s natural gas fields. (Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2017)

 

TURKEY SHUTS WEEKLY OVER OFFENSIVE MOSES CARTOON (Istanbul) — The publisher of one of Turkey's most prominent cartoon magazines shut down the weekly and fired all its staff after it published a cartoon of Moses deemed to be offensive. Girgir had published a cartoon showing the bearded Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, with his companions complaining and using vulgar curse words. Girgir has since 2015 been published by the group of the Sozcu newspaper, a secular nationalist daily which is staunchly opposed to President Erdogan.  A statement by the magazine apologized for the cartoon, saying "it was not noticed before printing because of tiredness and insomnia." Cartoons of holy figures, especially from Islam, are a near taboo in Turkey. (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 19, 2017)

 

MPS DEBATE MOTION 103 (Ottawa) — MPs started the formal debate last week on a binding motion to condemn Islamophobia and systemic racism that's created controversy over concerns about free speech. Motion 103, proposed by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, would "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination" and ask a House committee to study how the government could reduce systemic racism. Critics, including several Conservative leadership candidates, say the motion would limit free speech and that current hate crimes legislation is sufficient. Kellie Leitch, an Ontario MP who's running to lead the Conservatives, has started a petition against M-103. The petition, which collects signatories email addresses and postal codes along with their names, uses the heading "no religion should be singled out for special consideration." (CTV, Feb. 15, 2017)

 

MONTREAL BECOMES 'SANCTUARY CITY' (Montreal) — The City of Montreal approved a motion declaring itself a "sanctuary city" for unauthorized immigrants. The motion includes provisions to ensure undocumented people can obtain services without fear of deportation. The designation ​comes as the province is dealing with an increase in the number of asylum seekers crossing the border illegally from the U.S. While the term "sanctuary city" carries no official legal definition, in the U.S. it has come to mean more limited co-operation with federal immigration officials and the safe harbour of undocumented immigrants. Last month, Trump issued an executive order to pull millions of dollars in grants from local governments that fail to comply with federal immigration enforcement laws. (CBC, Feb. 20, 2017)

 

AT LEAST TEN US JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTERS TARGETED IN BOMB THREATS (Miami) — At least ten Jewish community centers across America received telephone bomb threats on Monday, according to media reports. JCCs in Birmingham, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Paul, Tampa, Albuquerque, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville and Buffalo were evacuated. No bombs were found at any of the threatened sites. This marked the fourth spate of concurrent bomb threats issued against JCCs in different parts of the US since the start of 2017. (Algemeiner, Feb. 20, 2017)

 

JOURNALIST STICKS UP FOR TRUMP AFTER BEING CALLED A ‘LIAR’ (Washington) — The Jewish reporter whom Trump accused of lying at a news conference defended Trump’s actions as owing to a misunderstanding. Jake Turx, of Ami Magazine, said that he believed Trump acted defensively to his question about rising antisemitism in America because of the “unfair” treatment he was receiving in the media and allegations connected to antisemitism. Citing bomb threats against Jewish institutions in recent months, Turx said, “What we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.” Trump interrupted Turx, said his question was “not fair” and said: “OK, sit down, I understand the rest of your question.” (JTA, Feb. 17, 2017)

 

‘DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS’ PROTEST (Washington) — Immigrants across the U.S. went on strike to highlight their economic importance to a new administration that has taken a hard-line stance on immigration policies. The strike, spurred by a social-media campaign, called for immigrants not to go to work, to avoid spending money and not send their children to school. It was the restaurant industry — where immigrants make up nearly 23 percent of the national workforce — that seemed most affected. In the D.C. region, where about 48 percent of people working in the restaurant industry are foreign-born, dozens of restaurants closed. And celebrity chef José Andrés — a Spanish immigrant who is in a legal battle with President Trump after backing out of a contract to open a restaurant in the District’s Trump International Hotel — closed a number of his restaurants in the region. (Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2017)

 

PEW: JEWS ARE BEST-LIKED RELIGIOUS GROUP IN U.S. (Miami) — Jews are the most warmly regarded religious group in America, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. The survey found that Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups than they did three years ago. Jews topped the survey, in which respondents rank various religious groups on a “feeling thermometer.” On the scale of 1 to 100, 1 is the coldest and 100 the warmest. Jews were ranked at 67 degrees, up from 63 in the 2014 survey, followed by Catholics at 66, up from 62, and Mainline Protestants at 65. Evangelical Christians stayed at 61 degrees. Buddhists rose to 60 from 53, and Hindus increased to 58 from 50. Atheists and Muslims again had the lowest ratings. Atheists ranked at 50 degrees, up from 41, and Muslims were at 48, up from 40. (JTA, Feb. 15, 2017)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

"U.S. is Determined to Stand up to the UN’s Anti-Israel Bias" – Nikki Haley (Video): UNWatch, Feb. 16, 2017

The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 20, 2017—When they met on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin were both walking wounded. Netanyahu arrived in Washington the center of a criminal investigation the chief characteristic of which is that selected details of the probe are regularly leaked to the media by anonymous sources who cannot be challenged or held to account.

President Trump's Iran Dilemma: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Feb. 27, 2017—Donald Trump has promised a foreign policy of muscular retrenchment, in which a better-resourced U.S. military intimidates our enemies without serving as a global cop. More than any president since Richard Nixon, our new commander in chief sees virtue in brutal authoritarians, especially if they are fighting radical Islam. He has passionately belittled the idea of nation-building, freedom agendas, and protracted conflicts in Muslim lands.

Trump in Denial Over Rising American Antisemitism: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 19, 2017— In two press conferences last week, US President Donald Trump avoided answering reporters’ questions about the undeniable spike in antisemitic incidents in America during his campaign for the presidency, an alarming trend that continues to concern the world Jewish community. On Wednesday, a reporter asked about the rise of antisemitic incidents amid growing concern that the new administration might in fact be encouraging xenophobia and racism.