Sunday, June 26, 2022
Sunday, June 26, 2022
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My Lunch with President Biden:  Thomas Friedman, NY Times, May 22, 2022“For all you knuckleheads on Fox who say that Biden can’t put two sentences together, here’s a news flash: He just put NATO together, Europe together and the whole Western alliance together — stretching from Canada up to Finland and all the way to Japan — to help Ukraine protect its fledgling democracy from Vladimir Putin’s fascist assault…. a majority of Americans worried that the country was coming apart at the seams and that this old war horse called Biden, with his bipartisan instincts, was the best person to knit us back together. It’s the reason he decided to run in the first place, because he knows that without some basic unity of purpose and willingness to compromise, nothing else is possible. But with every passing day, every mass shooting, every racist dog whistle, every defund-the-police initiative, every nation-sundering Supreme Court ruling, every speaker run off a campus, every bogus claim of election fraud, I wonder if he can bring us back together. I wonder if it’s too late.”  [See also:  Thomas Friedman Went To Lunch With Joe Biden And Left Full Of Crap – Ed.]

America May Be Broken Beyond Repair:  Michelle Goldberg, NY Times, May 27, 2022

“It will be impossible to do anything about guns in this country, at least at a national level, as long as Democrats depend on the cooperation of a party that holds in reserve the possibility of insurrection. The slaughter of children in Texas has done little to alter this dynamic. Republicans have no intention of letting Democrats pass even modest measures. . .as long as the Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema refuse to amend the filibuster. . .victims of mass shooting are collateral damage in a cold civil war. . . What was once a barely concealed insinuation of violence has morphed into an even more forthright menace. . . ‘[R]ight-wing Republicans are talking more openly and frequently about the use of force as justifiable in opposition to those who dislodged him’—meaning Trump—‘from power’. Expecting those same Republicans to collaborate with Democrats on public safety is madness. . . . The filibuster renders the Senate largely impotent, Trump, a president who lost the popular vote, was able to appoint Supreme Court justices who are poised to overturn a New York State law restricting the carrying of concealed weapons. It’s increasingly hard to see a path to small-d democratic reforms. . . .The most common sentiment is not ‘never again’, but a bitter acknowledgment that nothing is going to change. America is too sick, too broken. It is perhaps beyond repair. . . .”

Gun Safety Must Be Everything That Republicans Fear:  Charles M. Blow, NY Times, May 30, 2022

“I understand that Republicans are the opposition, that they have come to accept staggering levels of death as the price they must pay to advance their political objectives on everything from Covid to guns. But I am on the same page as they are on one point. They see the passage of gun control laws as a slippery slope that could lead to more sweeping laws, and even one day, national gun registries, insurance requirements, and bans. I see the same and I actively hope for it.”

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

 “We will hold whatever kind of march we want to in our capital. You will not threaten our sovereignty.” — Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz, in a message directed at Hamas terrorists. He was referring to the annual flag march during the Yom Yerushalayim event on Sunday. (United With Israel, May 29, 2022)
“… after Iran stole classified documents from the UN’s Atomic Agency, Iran used that information to figure out what the atomic agency was hoping to find, and then created cover stories and hid evidence to evade their nuclear probes. So how do we know this? Because we got our hands on Iran’s deception plan a few years back. And it’s right here in my hands. Here it is, in the Persian language, hundreds of pages marked with the stamp of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.” – Israeli PM Naftali Bennett.  He publicly revealed documents that he said proved that the Iranian government had crafted a cover story about its rogue nuclear program for a watchdog agency, adding that he can prove Iran has been consistently lying to the international community about its nuclear development. (WIN, May 31, 2022)
“We have a lot to learn from the Germans when it comes to owning our history and taking action … Only years later, do we now have a very clear view of our history and we have our own national responsibility.”— Austrian Parliament President Wolfgang Sobotka in an interview with the Jerusalem Post during the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) convention in Munich.  (Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2022)
“[The American soldier] needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage. … Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds; but serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation’s war-guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice. … You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country. This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur to West Point cadets at the United States Military Academy on May 12, 1962.  (WSJ, May 27, 2022)
“I thought we were heading into a constitutional crisis. I think whatever you think of Trump, the fact is that the whole Russiagate thing was a grave injustice. It appears to be a dirty political trick that was used first to hobble him and then potentially to drive him from office.” — Former US Attorney General Bill Barr said on Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV podcast, adding “I believe it is seditious.” (Fox Metro, May 28, 2022)


STATE DEPARTMENT: U.S. IS COMMITTED TO OPENING PALESTINIAN CONSULATE IN JERUSALEM (Washington) — Following reports that American plans to open a consulate to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem had been shelved, senior American officials in the U.S. State Department have clarified that they remain “committed to opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem.”  (Israel National News, May 31, 2022
REPORT: ISRAEL DIRECTLY WARNS 100 OF ITS CITIZENS TO LEAVE TURKEY DUE TO IRAN THREAT (Jerusalem) — Israeli security officials warned over 100 Israeli citizens in Turkey that they are in Iran’s crosshairs and asked them to return.  According to an unsourced report, the threat of Iran attacking Israelis in Turkey is “concrete and immediate… Evidently, there is [an Iranian] infrastructure that has planned to act right now.” (Times of Israel, May 31, 2022)
UAE & ISRAEL SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IN FIRST OF ITS KIND DEAL WITH ARAB STATE (Dubai) — Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a first-of-its-kind comprehensive free-trade agreement between Israel and an Arab country. The agreement, signed in Dubai by the Israeli economy minister and the Emirati minister of state for foreign trade, will cover 96% of bilateral trade, which amounts to about $1 billion. Officials said the agreement would help trade grow to more than $10 billion within five years. (WSJ, May 31, 2022)
ISRAELI WORK PERMITS EASE GAZA TENSIONS (Jerusalem) — Israel has increased the number of work permits it grants to Palestinians in Gaza since its 11-day war with Hamas last May.  It hopes to preserve the fragile truce by easing the economic blockade it has maintained about the strip of land since 2007, when the militant group seized power. The permits are contingent on the peace remaining. (WSJ, May 28, 2022)
IRAQ PASSES LAW MAKING CONTACT WITH ISRAEL PUNISHABLE BY DEATH (Baghdad) — Iraqi lawmakers passed a bill criminalizing the normalization of ties and any relations, including business ties, with Israel. The legislation says that violation of the law is punishable with the death sentence or life imprisonment. (Times of Israel, May 26, 2022)
US REVOKES RABBI SHMUEL ELIYAHU’S VISA (Washington) — The US embassy in Israel recently informed Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu that his Visa to enter the US has been revoked in a move initiated by the State Department. Rabbi Eliyahu served for decades as the Chief Rabbi of Safed and on the Chief Rabbinical Council. The US embassy refused to comment on the reasons for the move. (Israel National News, May 30, 2022)
AFRICAN-AMERICAN PAC TO SPEND $1 MILLION TO UNSEAT ANTI-ISRAEL RASHIDA TLAIB (Washington) — The Urban Empowerment Action Political Action Committee is throwing its support behind a Democratic challenger for Rashida Tlaib’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and is preparing to spend $1 million. Bakira Sellers, a former South Carolina state lawmaker and UEA fundraiser explained to Politico, “We are hoping that we can have a candidate that doesn’t have varying distractions,” an implied attack on Tlaib’s Palestinian activism. (WINMay 30, 2022)
AFTER UNEARTHING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS, FRENCH PROSECUTORS NOW SUSPECT ANTISEMITISM IN ELDERLY JEW’S DEATH (Paris) — Prosecutors in France are considering antisemitism as a possible factor in the death of  Rene Hadjaj, 89, in Lyon, who police initially said had died in a dispute unconnected to his religion. Hadjaj was found dead after falling from the 17th floor of his apartment building. Police arrested a 51-year-one neighbor, Rachid Kheniche, in connection with the incident. Kheniche and Hadjaj knew each other and had an altercation that ended with Hadjaj’s death.  (VIN, May 30, 2022)
U.N. SAYS IRAN HAS ENOUGH URANIUM TO PRODUCE NUCLEAR WEAPON (Vienna) — The United Nations atomic agency said that Iran hasn’t offered credible answers to its probe into nuclear material found in the country and reported that Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium has grown to roughly enough material for a nuclear bomb. The two reports will sharpen concerns about Iran’s nuclear work at the same time negotiations on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled. (WSJ, May 30, 2022)
IRAN SEIZES TWO GREEK TANKERS AMID ROW OVER U.S OIL GRAB (Tehran) — Iranian forces seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf, shortly after Tehran warned it would take “punitive action” against Athens over the confiscation of Iranian oil by the United States from a tanker held off the Greek coast. Greece’s foreign ministry said an Iranian navy helicopter landed on Greek flagged vessel Delta Poseidon, which was sailing in international waters, and took the crew hostage, among them two Greek citizens. (Reuters, May 27, 2022)
IRAN REGIME MASSACRE SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED BY OBERLIN COLLEGE – US (Indiana) — In a dramatic development in favor of Iranians seeking accountability for the Iranian regime’s massacre of 5,000 political prisoners in 1988, Congressman Jim Banks (R-Indiana) urged Oberlin College to launch a new investigation of its Islamic studies professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati for his alleged role in the mass murder. (Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2022)
SENSITIVE IRANIAN MILITARY SITE WAS TARGETED IN ATTACK (Tehran) — A drone strike this week targeted Iran’s Parchin military complex, a highly sensitive military site outside Tehran where Iran develops missile, nuclear, and drone technology. The drones exploded into a building used by the Ministry of Defense, killing a young engineer who worked at the ministry and injuring another person. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack fits a pattern of past Israeli strikes on Iran and Lebanon. (NY Times, May 27, 2022)
ISIS PLOT TO ASSASSINATE GEORGE W. BUSH BROKEN UP (Washington) — The FBI uncovered a plot by an alleged ISIS operative to assassinate former President George W. Bush. Iraqi national Shihab Ahmed Shihab was arrested by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents. Hr reportedly planned to smuggle four Iraqi foreign nationals into the United States for the purpose of killing the former president in an operation titled “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” (The Hill, May 21, 2022)

BIDEN SEES EXODUS OF BLACK STAFFERS AND SOME FRUSTRATION AMONG THOSE WHO REMAIN (Washington) — At least 21 Black staffers have left the White House since late last year or are planning to leave soon. Some of those who remain say it’s no wonder why: They describe a work environment with little support from their superiors and fewer chances for promotion. Some Black aides have adopted a term for this exodus: “Blaxit.” (Politico, May 31, 2022)


EU LEADERS BAN MOST RUSSIAN OIL IMPORTS IN ‘MAXIMUM PRESSURE’ TO END UKRAINE WAR (Brussels) — European Union leaders agreed to ban more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports, tightening economic screws on the country even as Moscow’s forces press their offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. (Times of Israel, May 31, 2022)
NORTH KOREA TO HEAD UN DISARMAMENT FORUM, 40 NGOS URGE WALK-OUT (Geneva) — North Korea will take over as chair of the world disarmament forum, which negotiated the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.  This appointment sparked an appeal by over 40 UN-accredited non-governmental organizations for UN chief Antonio Guterres, the U.S., Canada, UK, EU states, and other democracies to strongly protest, and for their ambassadors to walk out of the conference during the four weeks of the North Korean presidency, starting on May 30, 2022. The 65-nation Conference on Disarmament, based in Geneva, is considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament efforts. (UN Watch, May 26, 2022)
THE TALIBAN’S CONTROL OF AFGHANISTAN IS GUARANTEEING AL QAEDA’S ‘CONTINUED PERSONAL SURVIVAL’, EXPERTS SAY (Kabul) — A report from a UN monitoring team says the relationship between the two groups “remains close”, with Al Qaeda described as being “pleased with” the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. The UN says Al Qaeda is using the takeover to increase their numbers and funding, as well as to “inspire Al Qaeda affiliates globally.” (MSN, May 30, 2022)


What the Exodus from The Prime Minister’s Office Foretells – Analysis:  Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2022 — Every day seems to bring Prime Minister Naftali Bennett a new political headache.
Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann Found Not Guilty in Politically Charged Trial:  Isaac Schorr, National Review, May 31, 2022 — The jury in Democratic attorney Michael Sussmann’s false-statement trial returned a verdict of not guilty on Tuesday after a two-week trial.

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