Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

                  MEDIA-OCRITIES


Central Question as Georgia Inquiry Wraps: Will Trump Face Criminal Charges?:  Danny Hakim and Richard Fausset, NY Times, Jan. 23, 2023
 
“[The House Jan.6 Committee “Report’] offered fresh evidence that Mr. Trump was nor on the periphery the effort to overturn the election results in Georgia but at the center of it. . . Legal experts see a number of potential criminal charges [intimidating individuals, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud (a felony), soliciting others to engage in tampering, soliciting tampering with electoral ballots, violation of general criminal solicitation statute, etc.]. . . Still, some lawyers foresee obstacles. . .Mr. Trump’s language during his call with Mr. Raffensberger left room for interpretation [and] could be interpreted in noncriminal ways. . . But the benefit to a prosecutor is that in the trial of a defendant, you can talk about criminal acts that the defendant may not have committed but that he may be responsible for under a RICO charge. . .And prosecuting Mr. Trump would likely raise fears of fresh violence on his behalf. . . .”
 
There’s a Line on George Santos’s Résumé That No One Can Cross OutGail Collins and Bret Stephens, The Conversation, NY Times, Jan. 23, 2023
 
“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. . .here we go again, with another batch of documents turning up in [Biden’s] Delaware home. Your thoughts? Gail Collins: Sigh. Bret, I don’t think Joe Biden’s story resembles Donald Trump’s at all. Trump piled up tons and tons of documents under the theory that the term “classified” was less important than the term “souvenir”. Biden’s seems to me like a genuine one of sloppiness. . . But I can’t deny this is a very, very disappointing development. . .It still doesn’t compare to Trump’s deliberate massing of classified documents and then trying to hide them from authorities. Which I’d say is a crime. Bret: I’ll reserve judgement till we learn what he two special counsels [established b the Justice Department] have to say. . . .
“[On George Santos, Republican elected to Congress from Long Island] Bret: I’m not sure there’s anything new to say about the sad, surreal, scuzzy, scamming, shameless, soulless man that he is. But boy, what a comment on today’s Republican Party. Gail: Well, Bret, a lying, weird Republican [he] would have been your problem in a different era. But then you’ve spent so much time crusading against the deficiencies in your old party, you’re the last one I could blame. Bret: The G.O.P. should be renamed B.T.P., Bermuda Triangle Party. Enter it, weird stuff happens, and you go straight to the bottom.” — [the piece ends judiciously, with Stephens affirming that President Trump “was the worst president since James Buchanan. He remains a clear and present danger to America’s democracy, the rule of law, the sanity of his fellow citizens and the world’s stability] –Ed. )


                                     WEEKLY QUOTES


“The democratic foundations of Israel, including the justice system, and human rights and freedoms, are sacred, and we must protect them and the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence.  The dramatic reform, when done quickly without negotiation, rouses opposition and deep concerns among the public. I see the sides prepared and ready all along the front for an all-out confrontation over the character of the State of Israel, and I am anxious we are on the brink of an internal struggle that could consume us all.” — Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressing the Ashmoret education conference in Tel Aviv. (Times of Israel, Jan. 24, 2023)
 
“[My predecessor] Omer Barlev neglected national security during his term, left non-functioning police stations, thousands of police officers who retired because of the bad conditions, protection rackets in the north, crime and violence in the south, zero police presence and Jewish children who are afraid to go to the Western Wall because they will have stones and Mototov Cocktails thrown at them, just because they are Jewish. I didn’t come to put a Band-Aid [over the problems] and to put on the shows that the previous government made. I came to lead a change and a deep change from the root [of the problems]. I don’t kid myself that it will take a day or two. It will take time, but with G-d’s help we have begun to lead and initiate processes and with G-d’s help we will bring about this change.” — National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir responding to criticism leveled at him by opposition leader Yair Lapid in the Knesset plenum, when he claimed that Ben-Gvir is not living up to his promise to fight violence and crime.  (Israel National News, Jan. 23, 2023)
 
“This relationship [between the US and Israel] matters to the American people. It’s the right thing morally, and I’m incredibly proud of all of the accomplishments we had, not just the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But my statement as secretary of state that not every settlement is unlawful, the recognition of the Golan Heights as the property of the people of Israel, this is a nation that’s been there for 3,000 years. It is the rightful Jewish homeland. And the Trump administration and our team recognized that and delivered that.”– former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  (Israel National News, Jan. 22, 2023)
 
“[Attorney General Merrick] Garland Is getting praise from the usual quarters for handling the Biden case with discretion, restraint and professionalism. The problem is that these supposed qualities seem to arise depending on partisan circumstances—and the unequal treatment predates Mr. Garland’s tenure. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are handled with kid gloves. Carter Page and Donald Trump—not to mention low profile suspects—face the bluntest federal law-enforcement tools.”  — Kimberley A. Strassel.  (WSJ, Jan.19, 2023)“Wherever the truth lies in the Biden case, it’s obvious that administrative secrecy is routinely used as a veto on democracy and the rule of law. The same opaque network of bureaucrats and security officials who still have not explained to the public why they raided Trump’s compound can’t be expected to play it straight now. Being transparent with the public might put them out of business.” – Jacob Siegel.  (Tablet, Jan. 19, 2023)
 
“It’s pretty extraordinary that we, a select group of human beings—are able to sit come together in a room and actually talk about saving the planet. It’s so, almost extraterrestrial, to think about saving the planet. If you said that to most people, most people would think you’re just a crazy, tree-hugging lefty-liberal do-gooder.”—Biden Administration climate-change “czar”, former Sen. And Vice-Presidential candidate, John Kerry, speaking at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Cited by Ramsey Touchberry, (Washington Times, Jan.18, 2023)
 
“The idea that a major classic conventional war in Europe could last as long as one of the world wars is not something we yet are ready for”, says Bruni Tertrais, deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research, a Paris think tank. “Even though the resilience of European societies has been remarkable, it cannot taken for granted.” — Yaroslav Trofimov.  [If the U.S. and its allies don’t adjust to a prolonged conflict, time could yet be on Russia’s side]. (WSJ, Jan.13, 2023).
 
“The Talmud was perhaps the first accumulator of human communication into an explicitly compound artifact, the prototype for structures like the Wikipedia, much of social media, and AI systems like ChatGPT. There is a huge difference, however. The Talmud doesn’t hide people. You can see differing human perspectives within the compound object. Therefore, the Talmud is not a golden calf.” – AI specialist Jaron Lanier.  (Tablet, Jan. 22, 2023)
 
“Perhaps the decision-makers at the CPO are so immured in their self-righteous echo chamber that they actually are unaware of [Jordan] Peterson’s formidable moral conviction and unique stature in the forum of ideas. No public intellectual in the anglosphere comes as close to absolutism on the subject of freedom of speech as Peterson, nor does anyone doubt his determination to do whatever it takes to preserve his right to exercise it. A pyrrhic victory is their best hope. Why would the CPO want to ride this tiger?”– columnist Barbara Kay.  She responded to the “College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) has threatened to take away Peterson’s licence to practice clinical psychology if he does not endure a draconian social media “re-education” program with an instructor of their choosing at his own expense ($225 an hour).” (Epoch Times, Jan. 9, 2023


            SHORT TAKES


US, ISRAEL LAUNCH HISTORIC JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE(Jerusalem) — US Central Command and the Israel Defense Forces launched a week-long military exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea believed to be the largest ever held between the two countries. Centcom says the drill, titled “Juniper Oaks,” will include a live fire exercise with more than 140 aircraft including B52 bombers, F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, FA-18s, AC-130s, and Apache helicopters, as well as 12 naval vessels and rocket artillery systems. (Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2023)

COALITION HEADS WARN ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT ORDERING NETANYAHU’S SUSPENSION IS AKIN TO A COUP (Jerusalem) — Coalition heads have charged Israel’s Attorney General of orchestrating a coup after reports emerged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be suspended over a conflict of interest in the ongoing judiciary affair. According to the Kan broadcaster, Gali Baharav-Miara is mulling an order for Netanyahu to take a leave of absence from the premiership amid plans for a judicial reform on the basis that his involvement constitutes a conflict of interest resulting from his ongoing corruption trial. Baharav-Miara denied the reports. (WIN, Jan. 23, 2023)

NETANYAHU OVERRIDES ZOHAR, SAYS SHABBAT CULTURAL ACTIVITIES WILL NOT CHANGE(Jerusalem) — Cultural events held on Shabbat that are subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, including the “Israeli Shabbat” project, will continue as usual.  According to a joint statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister MK Miki Zohar clarified the situation in a conversation between them. Zohar stated that he wants the initiative for the activities to come from the funded entities and not from the ministry itself, but funding and the content of the activity would not be harmed. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2023)

‘SHAME ON YOU’: NETANYAHU SLAMS ACTIVISTS WHO DESECRATED HIS FATHER’S GRAVE(Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed leftists who desecrated his father’s grave, calling the act a “crossing of all red lines.” On Friday, family members visiting Dr. Benzion Netanyahu’s grave in Jerusalem found a letter, which said in part, “Your son seems demented and weak. … he is enabling a group of racists, fascists, homophobes and serial criminals to drag the State of Israel into being a failed kleptocracy in a bad case, or an isolated dictatorship in the worst case.” (WIN, Jan. 23, 2023)

PRESSURE GROWS IN FRANKFURT FOR CANCELLATION OF ROGER WATERS CONCERT OVER ROCK SINGER’S ‘ANTISEMITISM’(Frankfurt) — Pressure is growing for the cancellation of a forthcoming concert in the German city of Frankfurt by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters because of the repeated accusations of antisemitism against the rock musician. Waters will be touring his “This Is Not A Drill 2023” show in several major German cities throughout May.  A vocal supporter of the so-called “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement targeting the State of Israel for a comprehensive boycott, Waters’ past tours have featured provocative symbols that included flying pigs branded with a Star of David. (Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2023)

ORTHODOX RABBINIC GROUP SLAMS LAWSUIT BY ‘WOKE’ RABBIS CLAIMING ABORTION IS A ‘JEWISH VALUE’ (NY) — In a lawsuit filed Thursday in St. Louis Circuit Court, more than a dozen faith leaders, including five rabbis, claim that Missouri violated the separation of church and state by “enshrining…religious views into laws.” The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, slammed the lawsuit as “irrational.” “To assert that access to an elective procedure is somehow a religious obligation is inherently irrational, defying all logic and reason. And to cloak this demand in the mantle of Judaism is heinous. Let us ask these five rabbis claiming to speak for Judaism: what positive commandment do they fulfill when stopping the heart of an unborn baby? What Hebrew blessing do they recite upon feticide?” said CJV Midwestern Regional Vice President Rabbi Ze’ev Smason. (WIN, Jan. 23, 2023)

HOUSTON WOMAN BREAKS INTO SYNAGOGUE, TERRORIZES PRESCHOOL CHILDREN(Houston) — A Houston, Texas woman is being prosecuted after allegedly repeatedly breaking into and terrorizing a synagogue, even missing a court date for one incident to continue harassing the Jewish house of worship. Ezra Law first appeared at the Congregation Emanu El temple in Houston last week, according to Harris County prosecutors.  Assistant Harris County District Attorney Erica Winsor said Law had allegedly vandalized the synagogue, damaging certain objects and creating a general state of disarray, Click2Houston reported. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2023)

MONTREAL NEO-NAZI FOUND GUILTY OF PROMOTING HATRED(Montreal) — A Montreal neo-Nazi who authored articles in a far-right publication under the pseudonym “Charles Zeiger” was found guilty by a Quebec court judge of a single count of the wilful promotion of hatred. The case hinged on a single article for a far-right online publication, the Daily Stormer, written in 2017, which Gabriel Sohier Chaput, 36, claimed was satire. Using antisemitic memes and editorial comments, the article entitled “Canada: Nazis Trigger Jews By Putting Up Posters On Ch–k Church,” celebrated neo-Nazi posters pasted on a bus stop in British Columbia. (CBC, Jan. 23, 2023)

HARVARD REVERSES COURSE, WILL OFFER POSITION TO CRITIC OF ISRAEL(Cambridge) — Harvard University on Thursday said it would extend a fellowship offer to a prominent human-rights advocate, reversing an initial decision that prompted critics to question whether the school had bowed to political pressure from pro-Israel donors.  The issue surfaced this month after the Nation published an article saying that Douglas Elmendorf, dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, vetoed a one-year fellowship for Kenneth Roth, the recently retired executive director of Human Rights Watch, because of Mr. Roth’s past criticism of Israel. (WSJ, Jan. 19, 2023)

EX-FBI OFFICIAL INVOLVED IN TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE INDICTED FOR WORKING ON BEHALF OF SANCTIONED RUSSIAN OLIGARCH(Washington) — Charles McGonigal, a former FBI official involved inthe investigation of Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, has been charged with violating sanctions and collaborating with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the Department of Justice announced Monday. According to federal prosecutors, McGonigal received “concealed payments” from a Russian intelligence officer in exchange for his help in having sanctions targeting Deripaska lifted. McGonigal is being charged by the Federal District in Manhattan with additional counts relating to money laundering and conspiracy. (National Review, Jan. 23, 2023)

CLASSIFIED-DOCUMENTS CONTROVERSY BRINGS SPOTLIGHT TO PENN BIDEN CENTER (Pennsylvania)President Biden’s think-tank, supported by the U. of Pennsylvania, the “Penn-Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement” in D.C., paid him over $900,000. between 2017 and early 2019. The University employed a series of Biden’s closest advisers (Anthony Blinken, Steve Birchetti, Michael Carpenter and U. Penn’s President, Amy Gutmann, later became Biden’s Ambassador to Germany [Penn received over $80 million in donations from Chinese sources in the 2016-2019 period-Ed.]). (WSJ, Jan. 21, 2023)

THE LEFT’S LARGEST NONPROFITS FUNNELED $39 MILLION TO CHINA IN 2021, FILINGS SHOW (Washington) — Two of America’s largest liberal nonprofits, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Ford Foundations, funneled $39 million to China in 2021—money that in some cases went to Chinese government agencies and universities that conduct military research. (WIN, Jan. 23, 2023)

MOSCOW DETAILS PLAN TO BOOST MILITARY AS UKRAINE WARNS OF FRESH RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE (Washington)Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Russian military will reach 1.5 million by 2026 [it is 1 million today], and military suppliers will have their production increased, this as a Russian spring offensive is rumored. (WSJ, Jan.17, 2023)


       FOR FURTHER REFERENCE


5 Israeli Innovations Named Among TIME Magazine’s ‘Best Inventions’ of 2022:  Abigail Klein Leichman, United With Israel, Jan. 22, 2023 Five products based on Israeli technology were cited in TIME magazine’s Best Inventions of 2022 among “200 inventions changing the way we live.”


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