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Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” (October 6, 2021)

MEDIA-OCRITIES OF THE WEEK

Whistleblower says Facebook ‘Fuelled Riots’ on Capitol Hill:  Salten News, Oct. 4, 2021“A whistleblower has accused Facebook of helping to fuel the Capitol Hill riot by prematurely removing some of the safeguards it introduced for the presidential election …Facebook had put in sweeping controls before the election over fears that Donald Trump and his supporters would refuse to accept its outcome. The decision [to remove them] allowed misinformation to flood the platform and made it easier for extremist groups to organize the storming of the Capitol on Jan.6 in which five people died. [Untrue, only one person died on Jan.6 as a result of the riot, Ashley Babbitt, a woman protester shot by a Capitol policeman—Ed.]…[Facebook was defended by] Nicholas Clegg, a former British MP…who is said to be paid $3.65 million a year [as] head of global affairs [with a] 40,000 staff whose job it was to clamp down on extremist content….”

Biden’s Slide With Key Voters: Momentary Blip or Danger Sign?:  Nate Cohen, NY Times, Oct. 1, 2021

[This article, misleadingly labeled “News Analysis,” clearly describes President Biden’s broad decline among all segments of the electorate, black, white, Latino, young and old] — “there is real, if inconclusive, evidence of a larger decline in his standing”— [but, nevertheless, holds] there are “few clues” as to help analysts understand these striking shifts in Mr. Biden’s ratings among reliably Democratic constituencies.”

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES


“We are 9 million boots on the ground; we are fighting … we are in touch with … terrorists. We’re gaining intelligence methodologies, and we’re fending them [off] without ever asking America to send even one troop, and we never will.  We are not the problem. We’re the solution smack in the middle of the toughest region in the world. We’re fighting the problem and solving it—not solving but managing it.” – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaking to the Jewish Federation of North America at the Safra Center in New York City.  He talked to them after his UN General Assembly address.  Bennett also said that it’s easy for international leaders to sit in Brussels and debate how to fight an asymmetric war, but Israel is doing it. (JNS, Sept. 27, 2021)
 
“It’s not enough to sign Accords.  Those for the Jordan-Israel deal were thinking quality of life would be better. This did not happen because the agreement with Egypt and Jordan focused more on security issues. The people need to see projects in the Middle East to make sure we can improve quality of life for regular people.” — The president of the Jordanian Red Crescent, Mohammed Al-Hadid.  He spoke at a lunch hosted by Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) UK to mark the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords.  He had personally paved the way for the admission of Magen David Adom to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 2006.  (Jewish News, Sept. 24, 2021)
 
“I’m feeling happy. My life is not in threat anymore.  I feel a little bit safer than when I was in Afghanistan.” — Zebulon Simentovuntil recently the last Jewish resident of Afghanistan, speaking through an interpreter to Jewish Insider.  Simentov escaped with nearly 30 of his neighbors, mostly women, and children, on a perilous five-day bus route through several Taliban checkpoints.  Simentov, who was beaten and imprisoned by the Taliban when it last held power from 1996-2001, spoke approximately three weeks after vacating the ramshackle synagogue in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul he had called home for decades.  He plans to settle in New York.  (Jewish Insider, Oct. 4, 2021)
 
“It’s unnecessary and counterproductive, and I think, frankly, sends the wrong signal to the Palestinians as well.  It signals to them [that it’s] back to business as usual, back to the kleptocracy, and ‘pay to slay’ and all the horrors that the Palestinian leadership and the West Bank [has] imposed on its own people as well.” – former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to co-hosts Richard Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein in an upcoming episode of Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast.” He also called President Biden’s intended reopening of the US consulate in East Jerusalem “illegal.”  “We don’t have consulates in the same city we have embassies anywhere in the world,”  he said.  (Jewish Insider, Oct. 4, 2021)
 
“We had a long audience with the President, which went extremely well. It was more than an hour and a half., it was ages. It was fantastic. We covered everything. I genuinely don’t think there has been a time I can remember when I felt such a complete community of ideas and interests … This has been a really great trip, and I’m grateful to the president and to the US administration. British beef is now capable of being sold in the United States…[and] it looks like the ban on lamb has been lifted. ‘Wham, bam, thank you lamb’ is the headline….”- — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his meeting in Washington with President Joe Biden.  (National PostSept. 23, 2021)
 
“A man who herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, jails human rights activists, crushed Tibet, disappeared courageous men and women who sounded the alarm on the coronavirus, and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong is now sitting on the United Nations’ highest human rights body. “ —  UNWatch National Director Hillel Neuer tweets.  (Twitter, Oct. 4, 2021)
 
“There have always been constraints on literary production, but [since the ‘60s] we have lived under different assumptions…about the right to speak one’s mind and to broadcast what emerges from it. But the advances made in the 1960s on behalf of freedom of expression went into reverse round about 2015. It is surely one of the strangest of recent cultural phenomenon that, whereas it was traditionally young people who fought to throw off the shackles of censorship, it is their radical heirs who lead the campaign to fasten them on again.” –Writer James Campbell. His biography of James Baldwin, “Talking at the Gates,” was reissued in a new edition in February.  (WSJ, Sept. 24, 2021)

SHORT TAKES

REPORT: MOSSAD TOOK DNA SAMPLES TO FIND RON ARAD (Jerusalem) – The Mossad took DNA samples from a body found in the village of Nabi Chit, Lebanon, to determine if the body is that of missing Israeli navigator Ron Arad, according to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya.  Rai al-Youm, a London-based Arabic news outlet, also reported that the Mossad operation aimed at locating the lost Israel Air Force navigator had included a daring abduction and questioning of an Iranian general.  According to the news outlet’s report, the general was captured  in Syria and transferred to an unnamed African country, where he was interrogated and later released.  Ron Arad, a navigator onboard an IAF F-4 Phantom fighter jet during the First Lebanon War, was captured in October 1986, after a prematurely detonated bomb damaged the aircraft during an operation over Lebanon.  His fate remains unknown.  (Israel National News, Oct. 5, 2021)
 
ISRAEL ACCUSES IRAN OF CYPRUS ATTACK PLOT (Jerusalem) — Israel has accused Iran of orchestrating an attempted attack against Israelis in Cyprus after police arrested an armed Azeri national carrying a Russian passport.  Iran denied the accusation. Cypriot media have reported that the 38-year-old suspect, who was carrying a handgun and a pistol, was arrested on Sept. 27 in Nicosia’s capital. Authorities suspect he is a hitman hired by Tehran. Israel appeared to hint that its intelligence services had contributed to Cyprus’ foiling of the alleged attack plot. (United With Israel, Oct. 4, 2021; The Advertiser, Oct. 5, 2021)
 
ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED FOR THREE IRAQI LEADERS WHO ATTENDED CONFERENCE CALLING FOR PEACE WITH ISRAEL (Erbil) — Three prominent Iraqi leaders are facing arrest warrants after they participated in a conference that called for peace with Israel. The conference, held Friday in Erbil, the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) capital in northern Iraq, featured more than 300 attendees. Organized by the US-based think tank the Center for Peace Communications, the conference called for Iraq to make peace with Israel and normalize its relations in the context of the Abraham Accords. The Iraqi government and other leaders were apoplectic at the news of the conference, with the government calling it “illegal.” (Algemeiner, Sept. 26, 2021)

IN FIRST, ISRAELI PHYSICIST TO HEAD EUROPEAN NUCLEAR RESEARCH COUNCIL (Jerusalem) — Professor Eliezer Rabinovici is the first Israeli physicist to be elected president of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) Council, the world’s largest particle physics lab. According to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Professor Rabinovici has played an active role in Israel’s inclusion as a full member of CERN in 2014. Israel was an observer state from 1991 and an associate member from October 2011. (Algemeiner, Sept. 26, 2021)
 
REPUBLICAN SENATOR PUTS BREAKS ON IRON DOME FUNDING (Washington) — Republican Senator Rand Paul put the brakes on a bill to hand Israel $1 billion to replenish its Iron Dome missile defense system.  He argued that Congress must adequately finance the bill. His objection comes amid criticism for a $3 trillion spending package, adding another ten percent to America’s national debt. The senator was accused of playing politics with Israeli citizens’ safety and forging joint cause with members of The Squad – an anti-Israel democratic faction within Washington. But the senator insisted that he is a strong friend of Israel’s, arguing that America can only be a strong ally if it is fiscally stable(WIN, Oct. 5, 2021)

TRUMP’S FORMER LAWYER TO HEAD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA (Washington) — David Schoen, the lawyer who defended former President Donald Trump during February’s impeachment proceedings, will serve as chairman of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). A veteran constitutional lawyer and Atlanta resident, Schoen has been a ZOA board member for years. The ZOA board elected him on Sunday while also re-electing long-time president Morton Klein. (United With Israel, Oct. 5, 2021)

SHERIDAN COLLEGE PROFESSOR ENGAGES IN HATE BY DEHUMANIZING ISRAELIS WHO SERVE(D) IN IDF (Oakville, Ont.) — A Sheridan College Professor wrote a baseless and hateful column against Israel entitled: “The Mafia and Israel’s child killers,” which paints a grotesque and false caricature of Israel’s armed forces. In his screed, Andrew Mitrovica, a journalism instructor in the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design, describes a 12-year-old Palestinian boy’s recent death and bizarrely compares the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to the mafia. In portraying the death of the preteen as a premeditated act, Mitrovica conveniently omits a critical detail; the boy was killed during violent clashes on the border between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel, where rioters threw explosives and attempted to breach the barrier to gain entry into Israel.  Rather than deliberate, the boy’s unfortunate death was a casualty of war. (Honest Reporting Canada, Sept. 19, 2021)

CIA ADMITS TO LOSING DOZENS OF INFORMANTS AROUND THE WORLD: NYT (Washington) — Leading counterintelligence officials issued a memo to all of the CIA’s global stations saying that a concerning number of US informants were being captured and executed. In an unusual move, the message sent via a top-secret cable included the specific number of agents killed by other intelligence agencies, according to The New York Times. Officials said that level of detail is a sign of the significance of the cable. Announcing the specific number of killings is rare as that figure is typically held under wraps from the public and even from some CIA employees. The cable, which also cited the issue of putting “mission over security,” comes amid recent efforts by countries like Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan to find CIA informants and turn them into double agents.  (The Hill, Oct. 5, 2021)
ISLAMIC STATE: CANADIAN ACCUSED OF BEING ‘VOICE BEHIND THE VIOLENCE’ (Ottawa) – Prosecutors accuse Saudi-born Mohammed Khalifa of being “the voice behind the violence” by providing English narration on some 15 ISIS videos. If convicted, the 38-year-old could face life in prison. Prosecutors say he was also an IS fighter, and during one conflict shortly before being captured, threw a grenade at opposing forces. He denies the charges.  Mr. Khalifa left Canada in 2013 to join IS in Syria, where he became a key member of the group’s propaganda team. By translating the videos into English, he played an integral role in the recruitment and radicalization of Westerners, which caused the deaths of numerous people at the hands of IS, prosecutors say. (BBC, Oct. 3, 2021)

AFGHAN WOMEN MINISTERS WARNED CANADA OF TALIBAN ATROCITIES IN JUNE: SENATOR (Ottawa) – In July, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada briefed the Canada-Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group about brutalities, including targeted killings and moves to oppress women.  As the Taliban took over more of the country. Ambassador Hassan Soroosh gave a graphic account of the Taliban killing women and clerics who disagreed with their interpretation of Islam, Sen. Salma Ataullahjan, the parliamentary friendship group co-chair said.  This was not the first warning. A month earlier, the same group desperately requested aid during a Zoom meeting attended by Canadian ministers, MPs, and senators. (CBC, Oct. 4, 2021)

ORTHODOX JEWISH PEOPLE SUBJECT OF COVID-19 STUDY (Montreal) — The high numbers of COVID -19 cases among  Montreal’s orthodox Jews spurred the Refuah V’chesed medical clinic in the Mile End to approach McGill University’s faculty of medicine and health sciences and propose the collaborative study, backed by the government of Canada through the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. Researchers are taking blood samples from 1,250 participants before and after vaccinations to study immune responses. They will also look at how strong immune responses remain over time. (Montreal GazetteOct. 5, 2021)

FACEBOOK, WHATSAPP, INSTAGRAM SUFFER WORLDWIDE OUTAGE FOR HOURS (California) — Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms are back online after a massive global outage plunged the services and the businesses and people who rely on them into chaos for hours. Facebook blamed a faulty configuration change and that no evidence exists “that user data was compromised as a result” of the outage. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly lost $ 7 billion in just a few hours following the massive crash, with shares of the social media giant plummeting about 5%, adding to a 15% drop that started mid-September. (WIN, Oct. 5, 2021)

UNFREEZE US$10 BIL FIRST TO RESTART NUCLEAR TALKS, IRAN PRESSES US (Tehran) — Iran’s foreign minister said that US officials tried to discuss restarting nuclear talks last month. Still, he insisted Washington must first release US$10 billion of Tehran’s frozen funds as a sign of goodwill. Iran has rejected direct talks with the US, and indirect talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear accord aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon stopped in June. (FreeMalaysiaToday, Oct. 3, 2021)

PCR SALES SOARED IN WUHAN BEFORE 1ST OFFICIAL COVID-19 CASES PUBLICIZED: REPORT (Wuhan) — Spending on tests to detect the novel coronavirus soared in Wuhan, China, several months before the first official reporting of COVID-19 cases, suggesting the virus was already circulating in communities during the northern summer in 2019 before it was made public by Beijing, according to research by Australian cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0. The firm tracked the sales of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests over several years, revealing an almost 50 percent increase between 2018 to 2019—the year before the COVID-19 outbreak spread across the world. (Epoch Times, Oct. 5, 2021)

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

EU Publishes ‘Strategic Plan’ For Countering Antisemitism Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, Oct. 5, 2021 — The European Union has published what it called a strategic plan for combating antisemitism. The 26-page document that the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, published Tuesday lists and explains a number of strategies that have been advocated or implemented by various EU bodies in recent years.

 

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