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Daily Briefing: Wednesdays News of the Week In Review(December 23,2020)

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK

 

Official White House portrait of President Donald J. Trump taken by Shealah Craighead on October 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Source:Wikipedia)

Donald Trump’s Lengthy Humiliation Is a Necessary Gift to the World Doug Sounders, The Globe and Mail, Dec. 12, 2020.

“The past six weeks have provided many of us the enjoyable experience of watching Donald Trump losing – badly – in a drawn-out series of public humiliations and serial self-abasements. This spectacle has grown tiresome to some, especially to Americans who face the constant horror of more than 3,000 daily deaths resulting from their President’s incompetent pandemic response. They’d like someone to shut him up, or cancel his social-media feeds, or at least teleport us to Jan. 21, when he will once again become part of the U.S. background noise. But we should resist the temptation to change the channel. It is vitally important that the entire world witnesses his loss and humiliation, his embarrassing tantrums, and his flailing displays of impotence and weakness. To see Donald Trump as a pathetic loser is the most effective imaginable challenge to the phenomenon that’s become known as “global Trumpism.” It has nothing to do with political beliefs or actual leadership styles; strongman leaders drawing on distrust and intolerance have been a 21st-century phenomenon for a decade, most of them inspired and supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin. …”

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

“Jerusalem is not the cause of the problem, it is the core of the solution.  While some have used the cause of Jerusalem to divide, Jerusalem remains proudly open.” — Jared Kushner, senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump at a tree-planting ceremony at the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem a day before he was scheduled to travel on a special diplomatic flight from Israel to Morocco to sign the first documents of the normalization deal between the two countries. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
“This is an international issue, I support recognition of Israel.  Educated Muslims need to understand that the Quran and history prove to us that the Land of Israel belongs only to the Jews. King David built the house of God in Jerusalem for the Israelis and not for the Palestinians.” — Pakistani political and religious leader Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani after announcing at a conference that he supports the normalization of his country with Israel.  (Israel Hayom, Dec. 20, 2020)
 
“For decades, the prevailing assumption was that the world would only see normalized international relations with Israel following a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. But we have proven this assumption wrong. All of us here should think long and hard about what else we may have missed or misinterpreted over the years,” — U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft in an address to the UN Security Council where she touted the Trump administration’s pursuit of “economic and cultural ties” between Israel and its Arab neighbors. (WIN, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
“No matter what one’s political inclination is, from my point of view, if being a Zionist implies standing up for human rights, it should be considered a badge of honour.” — columnist Avi Benlolo writes.  He responded to the criticism waged against actress Scarlet Johansson for being a Zionist after she released a YouTube video calling for the release of four human rights activists who were arrested after they hosted foreign diplomats to discuss the human rights situation in Egypt. (National Post, Dec. 17, 2020)
 
“An equally blatant instance of the Trudeau government bending foreign policy to pursue special interest politics at home is its reversal of a longstanding commitment that Canada would stand with Israel at the UN, and either vote against, or abstain, when anti-Israel resolutions are raised in the General Assembly. Under Trudeau, Canada at the UN has now routinely begun to vote against Israel. While such votes are largely symbolic, they threaten to rupture Canada’s long-standing friendship with Israel, and could stoke anti-Semitism in Canada, which is already on the rise. It is noteworthy that Canada’s Muslim minority has served as a rich vote bank for the Liberals, which could help explain this damaging U-turn.” – writes columnist Rupa Subramanya.  He noted PM Trudeau’s reversal of behaviour vis-à-vis Israel as one example of many instances wherein the Federal Liberal Party’s “brand of politics fuelled by identity-driven special interests has taken hold in Canada,”  to Canada’s detriment. (National Post, Dec. 18, 2020)
 
“American politics are in shambles. Joe Biden is unequal to the tasks of a president and his election and personal probity are tainted. The Trump phenomenon will not go away whether Donald Trump himself does or not, and in the next four years America will be in a fierce struggle between the left and the centre- right … Canadians are best placed to judge this astonishing spectacle but are not doing so; our media are not as nasty as the American media, but they are just as incompetent. Imitative to some extent of America, as usual, but without the same lengthy legacy of slavery, we are torturing ourselves for imagined shortcomings. … The American crisis confers a huge opportunity on us to emerge creatively from the shadow of that great, turbulent nation. There is not a sign on the horizon that we are doing anything to exploit that opportunity, or are even remotely aware that it exists. Instead, we prattle on about race and gender and climate.” – Political commentator Conrad Black.  (National Post, Dec. 19, 2020)
 
“Last week, while listening to NPR, we heard this: “President Trump continues to lie, saying he won the election, and that fraud was rampant. … President Trump certainly wouldn’t be the first president to lie to the American people. And he probably won’t be the last. But he probably is the first American president to be called a liar by so many large mainstream news organizations in their news accounts. … And the divide among Americans gets even deeper. For … most of the 20th century, the press did not call the president of United States a liar. That wasn’t necessary, because when officials were lying, the press could present contradictory facts and information which was more believable. That let the readers, listeners, and viewers decide for themselves. But today many in the press don’t trust their readers, listeners, and viewers to come to their own conclusions. They believe they must tell the mass audience if someone with political power is lying. What these journalists seem oblivious to is that this can be an insult to their audiences, implying the mere reader isn’t smart enough to determine the truth for himself. … We wish NPR similarly trusted its listeners. We think that podcast tells its listeners more about NPR than it does about Donald Trump.” – Editorial.  (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Dec. 13, 2020)
 
“That the University of Delaware would have rejected her 2006 dissertation as sloppy, poorly written, non-academic, and barely fit for a middle-school Social Studies classroom (all of which it is) when her husband had been representing its state in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades was about as likely as Tom Hagen telling Vito Corleone that his wife is a fat sow on payday. The only risk to the University of Delaware was that it might strain its collective wrist in its rush to rubber-stamp her doctoral paper. Mrs. Biden could have turned in a quarter-a**ed excuse for a magazine article written at the level of Simple English Wikipedia and been heartily congratulated by the university for her towering mastery. Which is exactly what happened.” – columnist Kyle Smith writing on Jill Biden’s Doctorate in Education and on her insisting on being addressed as Dr. Biden.  (National Review, Dec. 16, 2020)
 

  SHORT TAKES
 
ELECTION PREVENTION BILL FAILS, ISRAEL HEADED TO ELECTIONS ON MARCH 23 (Jerusalem) — 47 MKs voted for a bill that was proposed to avoid the Knesset’s dispersal, while 49 voted against. The 23rd Knesset will be dissolved automatically at midnight on Tuesday night. Shortly after the vote, Likud MK Michal Shir announced that she would be joining Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party, after voting against the bill.  The heads of Likud and Blue-and-White thought that there would be a majority to pass the bill, but they were surprised when  MKs Asaf Zamir, Ram Shefa and Miki Haimovich of Blue-and-White, and Michal Shir of Likud voted against the bill while Likud MK Sharren Haskel declined to come to the vote. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
KNESSET SPEAKER DECLARES HIGH COURT NOT AUTHORIZED TO RULE ON CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS (Jerusalem) – Likud Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin sent a letter to Supreme Court President Esther Hayut ahead of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the High Court of Justice of petitions against Israel’s Nationality Law, warning against any judicial intervention in basic laws, which comprise Israel’s constitutional foundation.  Levin called the upcoming hearing “an attempt to impose the worldview of the Supreme Court judges as if they were the rulers of the land.” (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
LEGALIZATION CHAMPIONS BEHIND DISPERSAL VOTE USHERING IN A MORE ANTI-CANNABIS KNESSET (Jerusalem) — Proponents of cannabis legalization in the Knesset, especially those who championed legislation to regulate a legal cannabis market in Israel, were behind the dissolution of Israel’s government on Monday night, and therefore also behind the collapse of the legislative process for legalization in Israel Cannabis Magazine reported.  (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
AMID WARNINGS OF MID-EAST PEACE DEALS COLLAPSING, TRUMP OFFICIAL PROMISES MORE STATES ARE JOINING(Jerusalem) — The NY Times reported that the incentives for joining the Abraham Accords that the Trump administration had offered the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan could be rejected by Congress, where many Democrats and Republicans were not enamored with them or reversed by President Biden after January 20. And yet, Israel’s Reshet Bet radio quoted an unidentified Trump senior official who claimed there are several additional countries with which the U.S. is in contact to try and promote normalization with Israel. The official said there was a chance for further peace announcements before the end of Trump’s term. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
ORTHODOX JEWISH LEADERS ARE TELLING THEIR FOLLOWERS TO VACCINATE FOR COVID-19. WILL THEY LISTEN?(Jerusalem) — Virtually all Orthodox leaders are encouraging their communities to trust the medical consensus and take the vaccine when it becomes available, and in Israel, many are already publicly sharing their own vaccinations. Yet Orthodox health professionals and communal leaders point to skepticism regarding the vaccine in the overall population because of anti-vaccine sentiments, as well as nervousness with the speed at which the vaccines were developed and the politicization of the virus, among other reasons. (JTA, Dec. 21, 2020)
 
ISRAELI MEDICAL WORKER SHOT WITH ENTIRE VACCINE BOTTLE – AT LEAST 5 DOSES (central Israel) — A medical staff member at an HMO clinic was accidentally injected with 5-6 doses of the Pfizer Corona vaccine at one time. He was hospitalized overnight for observation and was released the following morning. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
CUOMO ORDERS STATE OFFICIALS TO ASSIST JEWISH DAY SCHOOL AFTER ANTI-SEMITIC HACKING (NYC) — NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered state officials from the Division of Human Rights and the Cyber Incident Response Team to provide assistance to the North Shore Hebrew Academy school community in the wake of a disturbing anti-Semitic hacking attack. The move comes after the Long Island school’s homepage was replaced with Nazi images and propaganda, which is being investigated by local and state law enforcement, as well as the FBI. In addition to the website, students were emailed hate-filled screeds and images, and families’ home addresses and financial information were compromised. (Cleveland Jewish News, Dec. 21, 2020)
 
JEWISH STUDENTS SPREAD ACCEPTANCE OF PERSECUTED MINORITIES IN RESPONSE TO ANTI-SEMITIC PA ANNOUNCEMENT (Belgium) — On December 9, four individuals took control of the intercom of the Belgian train connecting Antwerp and Mechelen and ordered the “cancer Jews to get off the train.” In response, the Union of Belgium’s Jewish Students (UEJB) broadcast a counter-message the following evening on several national train lines via interphones and megaphones: “… In response, we would like to wish the Jews, but also all other people present on this train who are discriminated against based on their culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or skin color, an excellent journey onboard the SNCB trains (the national railway company of Belgium).” (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2020)
 
FRENCH COURT FINDS ACCOMPLICES TO CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACKERS GUILTY (Paris) — A French court convicted 14 people of crimes ranging from financing terrorism to membership of a criminal gang in relation to Islamist attacks in 2015 against the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket.  Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris, spraying gunfire and killing 12, on Jan. 7, 2015, nearly a decade after the weekly published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed. A third attacker, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a policewoman and then four Jewish hostages in a kosher supermarket in a Paris suburb. Like the Kouachis, Coulibaly was killed in a shootout with police. Among the 14 accomplices sentenced on Wednesday was Hayat Boumeddiene, the former partner of Coulibaly and one of three defendants tried in absentia. Believed to be still alive and on the run from an international arrest warrant, prosecutors referred to her as an “Islamic State princess”. (Reuters, Dec. 16, 2020)
 
‘LEAP’ IN ATTITUDES AS SAUDI SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS LOSE ANTI-SEMITIC AND HARDLINE ISLAMIST CONTENT (Riyadh) –Hardline Islamist and anti-Semitic content has been removed from Saudi Arabia’s curriculum, according to a new report, in what researchers say marks a historic shift in attitudes in the Gulf Kingdom after a number of Arab countries normalised relations with Israel. (The Telegraph, Dec. 16, 2020)
 
SAUDI PRINCE DENIES ASSASSINS SENT TO CANADA (Riyadh) – Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied he sent a team of assassins to Canada to execute Saad Aljabri, a former intelligence official living in Canada, and is seeking to have a federal court in the U.S. dismiss a lawsuit filed by Aljabri in the matter. (Montreal Gazette, Dec. 18, 2020)
 
FOR FURTHER REFERENCE
 
Watch: Security Footage of Jerusalem Terror Attack:  Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Dec. 21, 2020 — A 17-year-old Arab terrorist who opened fire at a Jerusalem police officer Monday near the entrance to the Temple Mount, close to the Lions’ Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, died of his wounds by the end of the day. His accomplice fled but was captured, and his vehicle impounded.
 
WATCH: Emirati Activist Blasts ‘Misleading Media’ for Lies About Israel:  United With Israel, Dec. 17, 2020 — Majid Al Sarrah is social activist from the United Arab Emirates who made his first visit to Israel this week during the Chanukah holiday.
 
WATCH: Israeli Research Team Turns Corona into the Common Cold:  United With Israel, Dec. 22, 2020 — Israeli researchers have made a breakthrough that could revolutionize the way Covid-19 is treated.

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