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Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAYS – NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW: (December 9,2020)

 

Media Fairness and Israel: The Biggest Fails and How You Can Create Change (Source: Flickr)

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK

Should Trump Be Prosecuted?:  Andrew Weissman, NY Times, Nov. 24, 2020

“When the Biden administration takes office in 2021, it will face a unique, fraught decision: Should Donald Trump be criminally investigated and prosecuted? But as painful and hard as it may be for the country, I believe the next attorney general should investigate Mr. Trump and, if warranted, prosecute him for potential federal crimes.… Mr. Trump may very well choose to pardon not just his family and friends before leaving office but also himself in order to avoid federal criminal liability. This historic turn of events would have no effect on his potential criminal exposure at the state level. If Mr. Trump bestows such pardons, states like New York should take up the mantle to see that the rule of law is upheld. And pardons would not preclude the new attorney general challenging a self-pardon or the state calling the pardoned friends and family before the grand jury to advance its investigation of Mr. Trump after he leaves office (where, if they lied, they would still risk charges of perjury and obstruction). In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”
 

 WEEKLY QUOTES

“I would hope that the incoming administration would understand that 2020 is not 2015.” — Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer told MSNBC, as regards former VP Joe Biden’s stated intention to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, but with certain caveats.  (United With Israel, Dec. 8, 2020)

“This is very moving, twice. One, I think it’s the first European coin that has Hebrew letters on it – HaGra – and I have a personal connection to it. My family came from Lithuania and my family has links to the Gaon of Vilna. So it’s both for us a national connection, but also a personal connection, and I’m very grateful to you. This will be on my desk.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  He thanked Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel Lina Antanaviciene, who presented him with a new Lithuanian coin with the name of the Vilna Gaon​. The Ambassador also presented the Prime Minister with a special Lithuanian stamp in honor of the Vilna Gaon, which was recently issued by the Lithuanian postal authority in the framework of ‘the Year of the Vilna Gaon’ that was marked in Lithuania. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 8, 2020)

“ Mr Brennan and the European supporters of his argument seem to believe that Iran can be contained by appeasement and negotiation rather than military strength and political will. This is a failure to comprehend either the psychology or ideology of the Iranian leadership. The path advocated by the proponents of appeasement can only lead to infinitely greater bloodshed, violence and suffering than the death of a proscribed terrorist on the streets of Iran.” — Colonel Richard Kemp writes.  He responded to former CIA Director John O. Brennan, who described November 27 of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh killing, allegedly by Israel as “state-sponsored terrorism” and “a flagrant violation of international law”. (Gatestone, Nov. 30, 2020)
 
 “… if Mr. Trump had found a mere 44,000 extra votes across Wisconsin and Georgia, he would have won those states and produced a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College. Congress would have been left to break the tie, and Mr. Trump would likely have been re-elected. Mr. Biden’s victory was a near-run thing….” Writes The Globe and Mail editorial Board.  (Globe and Mail, Nov. 25, 2020)

The Squad, “including AOC, are totally out of line. I want to conserve what we have in this country for future generations. I have a grandson who is 15 months old.” – newly-elected Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) to the WSJ. “For me, socialism is personal. We’re going to fight back vehemently when we see policies being proposed that will fundamentally change our nation.” — Newly elected Congresswoman Michelle Steel (R-CA) She adds that Mrs. Pelosi faces a choice: “Is she going to work with us in a bipartisan way, to accomplish things? Or will she empower the socialist Squad and kowtow to them?” (WSJ, Dec. 4, 2020)

“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.” — Margaret Keenan, a former jewelry shop employee who turns 91 next week, received her shot at University Hospital Coventry.  The UK was the first country in the world to roll out an independently-tested mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday, with the first dose administered to a nonagenarian grandmother. (WIN, Dec. 8, 2020)

  SHORT TAKES

DATE FOR NEW ELECTIONS: MARCH 16TH, 2021 (Jerusalem) — A bill calling for the dissolution of the 23rd Knesset cleared another hurdle Wednesday, gaining approval from the Knesset House Committee. The committee voted to back the bill, tentatively setting the date for Election Day as Tuesday, March 16th 2021, roughly a week and a half before the start of the Passover festival. If elections are held next March, they will be Israel’s fourth general election in under two years, coming just over a year since the previous election, held on March 2nd of this year. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 9, 2020)

ISRAEL HAS TAPE OF SLAIN IRAN NUKE CHIEF TALKING ABOUT BUILDING FIVE WARHEADS’ (Jerusalem) — A top-secret recording of the recently assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh speaking about his efforts to produce “five warheads” on behalf of the Islamic Republic. was played in 2008 by former prime minister Ehud Olmert for then-president George W. Bush during a visit by Bush to Israel and was a key element in convincing the Americans to step up efforts to combat Iran’s nuclear program.  (Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2020)

BANNER OVER BUSY TEHRAN STREET READS, ‘THANK YOU, MOSSAD’ (Tehran) — A photograph and video of a banner and Israeli flag draped on a pedestrian bridge were uploaded to social media. The sign was written in English and said, simply: “Thank you, Mossad.” The message was apparently in reference to the Nov. 27 assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in the city of Absard, east of Tehran. (Algemeiner, Dec. 8, 2020)

FORMER ISRAELI SPACE SECURITY CHIEF SAYS ALIENS EXIST, HUMANITY NOT READY (Jerusalem) — Has the State of Israel made contact with aliens? According to retired Israeli general and current professor Haim Eshed, the answer is yes, but this has been kept a secret because “humanity isn’t ready.” The 87-year-old former space security chief gave further descriptions about exactly what sort of agreements have been made between the aliens and the US, which ostensibly have been made because they wish to research and understand “the fabric of the universe.” (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 8, 2020)

BAHRAIN BACKTRACKS, WON’T RECOGNIZE JUDEA AND SAMARIA GOODS AS ISRAELI (Manama) — Despite previously announcing that Bahrain will recognize goods made in the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria as Israeli products, the Gulf kingdom has backtracked on that promise.  In a conference in Manama, Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said he’d spoken with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and explained to him that media reports about Bahrain’s position on the matter of Israeli goods were inaccurate. (WIN, Dec. 6, 2020)

UK’S PRINCE CHARLES LEADS TRIBUTES TO ‘LIGHT UNTO NATIONS’ LORD JONATHAN SACKS AT MEMORIAL SERVICE (UK) — The UK’s Prince Charles led tributes to late former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks during a virtual ceremony to mark the 30 days, or shloshim, since Sacks’ death from cancer last month. The 72-year-old heir to the British throne spoke warmly of Sacks at a memorial that featured contributions from numerous political, religious and academic leaders, including former UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. (WIN, Dec. 8, 2020)

DEMOCRATIC CENTRISTS SUCCEED PRO-ISRAEL STALWARTS ENGEL AND LOWEY AS CHAIRS OF KEY HOUSE PANELS(Washington) — Democratic Party centrists with solid Israel bona fides defeated progressives as the chairs of two key House committees, succeeding pro-Israel stalwarts Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey. Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York will replace Engel, also of New York, as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Meeks in the caucus vote defeated Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who has been critical of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, going so far as to suggest that Netanyahu had undercut U.S.-Israel ties. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, defeated Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and will replace New York’s Lowey as chairwoman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. (JTA, Dec. 3, 2020)

GROUP CO-OWNED BY OMAR’S HUSBAND RAKED IN $635,000 IN CORONAVIRUS FUNDS (Minn.) — The E-Street Group, co-owned by Tim Mynett, husband to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), pulled in nearly $635,000 in coronavirus relief funds. Mynett’s group raked in nearly $135,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans. (WIN, Dec. 8, 2020)

PROGRESS: UN’S ANTI-ISRAEL COMMITTEES OPPOSED BY GERMANY, AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND, SLOVENIA, BULGARIA(NYC) — For the first time ever, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria changed their votes and opposed the annual resolution that renews the mandate of the 25-nation “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,” one of the UN’s most notorious anti-Israel bodies. Likewise, Iceland and Uruguay moved from voting Yes last year to Abstain. Others who opposed the resolution include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Colombia, Honduras, Hungary, and the United States. Similarly, Switzerland and Slovenia for the first time ever voted No to the annual resolution that renews the mandate of the UN’s Division for Palestinian Rights, which employs 15 full-time staffers, at a cost to taxpayers of millions of dollars, to organize anti-Israel events worldwide. Regrettably, France did not oppose the resolution, and once again abstained. (UNWatch, Dec. 8, 2020)

ROALD DAHL FAMILY APOLOGIZES FOR CHILDREN’S AUTHOR’S ANTI-SEMITISM (UK) — The family of children’s book author Roald Dahl has issued a belated apology for his history of anti-Semitism, three decades after the British author’s death in 1990. Over his nearly 50-year career, Dahl wrote such classic children’s books as ‘Matilda’, ‘James and the Giant Peach,’ and ‘The BFG.’ He also made some anti-Semitic comments. In one example, in 1983 Dahl reportedly told Britain’s New Statesman magazine that “there is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity. … Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.” (NPR, Dec. 6, 2020)

SWISS JEWS INCREASINGLY CONCERNED BY ANTISEMITIC CONSPIRACY THEORIES DRIVEN BY CORONAVIRUS FEARS (Zurich) –The Jewish community in Switzerland is increasingly concerned by the spread of antisemitic conspiracy theories connected to the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research by the Zurich-based Foundation Against Racism and Antisemitism. The foundation highlighted the presence on social media of memes linking Jewish influence with the spread of the virus, as well as the presence — also seen in Germany, France and other European countries — of Nazi and Holocaust-related images at demonstrations against social distancing organized by extremist groups. (Algemeiner, Dec. 8, 2020)

IRAN PLANS TO INSTALL MORE ADVANCED ATOMIC CENTRIFUGES UNDERGROUND -IAEA (Tehran) — Iran has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog it plans to install three more cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.  Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers says Tehran can only use first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, which are less efficient, at the underground plant and that those are the only machines Iran can accumulate enriched uranium with.  (Reuters, Dec. 4, 2020)

IRAN SUPREME LEADER KHAMENEI HANDS POWER TO SON DUE TO HEALTH – REPORT (Tehran) — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may have transferred power to his son amid concerns over his declining health. Taking to Twitter, Iranian journalist Momahad Ahwaze wrote in Arabic that sources in Iran were concerned regarding the 81-year-old leader’s health, and those close to him are reportedly “very concerned” over his deteriorating condition. As such, his powers have reportedly been transferred to his 51-year-old son, Sayyid Mojtaba Hosseini Khamenei, who currently oversees several important security and intelligence departments in the country. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2020)

UN AGENCY HIT WITH CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AT CLIMATE PROJECTS (NYC) –The United Nations Development Programme is facing several allegations of fraud and corruption linked to the multibillion-dollar Global Environment Facility. A copy of a draft report by UNDP’s office of audit and investigations, dated November 2020, described “financial misstatements” worth millions of dollars across UNDP’s portfolio of GEF-funded projects around the world. (Financial Times, Nov. 30, 2020)

NBC DEVELOPING ADAPTATION OF ISRAELI TV SERIES ABOUT A FAMILY BEING IMPACTED BY THEIR SON WITH AUTISM (NY) — NBC is developing an adaptation of the Israeli series “Yellow Peppers,” a drama about a family’s journey raising a young son who has autism. “Yellow Peppers,” from Keshet Broadcasting and July August Productions, was created by Keren Margalit and aired for two seasons in Israel between 2010-14. Several adaptations of the show have already been made, including the British version, “The A Word,” which aired three seasons on the BBC. (Algemeiner, Dec. 6, 2020)

CANADA PLEDGES $270-MILLION IN AID FOR AFGHANISTAN(Ottawa) — Ottawa will provide $270-million to Afghanistan over the next three years, sending an important signal that Canada supports the country as peace talks continue.  (Globe and Mail, Nov. 25, 2020)

REPUBLICAN US SENATE LEADER URGES SUPPORT FOR TRUMP’S MASSIVE UAE ARMS SALE (Washington) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged lawmakers to vote against a resolution, expected as soon as this week, to block President Donald Trump’s $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, which he called a crucial partner in the first against terrorists. The Trump administration had approved the sale to the UAE of products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp. The deal includes the F-35, the world’s most advanced fighter jet; more than 14,000 bombs and munitions; and the second-largest sale of US drones to a single country. (Algemeiner, Dec. 8, 2020)

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

WATCH: Proudly Pro-Israel Band Up for Album-of-the-Year GrammyUnited With Israel, Dec. 7, 2020

Caroline Glick: This is How Biden Will Affect US-Israel Relationship:  Caroline Glick, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 9, 2020 — Caroline Glick reports it as she sees it. The award-winning journalist, author, political analyst and policy advisor joined Eve Harow for a discussion regarding the US-Israel relationship as we move into 2021.

“YOU AND YOUR PRAYER BOOK CAN GET OFF”: Frum Woman WEARING MASK Thrown Off Delta Flight For “Davening” In Her Seat:  Yeshiva World, Dec. 5, 2020 — A Frum woman was thrown off a Delta flight on Wednesday for not being compliant with mask-wearing. But the passenger tells YWN that she was 100% compliant, and thinks she was the victim of blatant anti-Semitism.

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