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Unanswered Questions About Trump and Russia Peggy Noonan, WSJ, May 18, 2023
“[The Durham Report on the FBI] sounds about right. Yet I still don’t know what to think about Trump/Russia and am not satisfied we’ll ever fully understand it . . . Mr. Trump was such a shock to the system of experienced people in positions of authority in the professions, very much including government–he was so impossible to imagine [sic] as president, such an obviously bad man and thus a threat in our country that otherwise temperate and responsible people found themselves willing to believe anything about him, and, in the case of the FBI, willing to pursue any probe even when the evidence was thin or nonexistent. They experienced themselves as motivated by patriotism: They were protecting the country. They wound up damaging the reputation of the great institutions of which they were a part . . . [Despite] the Durham Report [the conclusions of which] I have no reason to doubt, [on Trump/Russia (Putin]) there’s still a lot of mystery.”

                              WEEKLY QUOTES

“Several days ago, Abu Mazen told the UN that the Jewish People have no links to the Temple Mount and that eastern Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian Authority. Therefore, and to get his attention, today we are holding a special Cabinet meeting in honor of Jerusalem Day at the foot of the Temple Mount upon which King Solomon built the First Temple of the Jewish People, and which is – again to get Abu Mazen’s attention – the heart of the historical State of Israel, the City of David, and has been here for 3,000 years. … The deep connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is a connection without comparison among the nations.” – PM Benjamin Netanyahu remarks at the start of the festive cabinet meeting in the western wall tunnels in honor of Jerusalem Day.  (Prime Minister’s Office, May 21, 2023)

 “In general, [Daniel Gordis] offers a conventional center-right analysis, not getting his hands too dirty. [He] understands, however, that moral purity is for victims, not states wishing to survive. ‘Moral complexity’ is the price, ‘but power has done what it was meant to do: Jews are no longer the victims on call. . . Can American Jews appreciate that?’. . . Israel was founded to advance particularistic goals for one nation, the Jews, via democratic means. ‘Israel was never meant to be a liberal democracy,’ [Gordis] writes, and blames those who would damage US-Israeli relations by falsely pretending it was. In February [however, during the Supreme Court jurisdiction crisis,] Mr. Gordis did exactly that, [arguing that] ‘when an Israeli government strays beyond what your commitment to liberal democracy can abide, you have both the right and the responsibility to speak up’. . . and instructs American Jews to pressure Israel to conform to their idea of ‘liberal democracy.’”– Elliot Kaufman, reviewing Daniel Gordis, Impossible Takes Longer, on how Israel at 75 measures up to its Declaration of Independence.  (WSJ, May 14, 2023)
The [Durham] report includes evidence that those engaged in the FBI’s initial Crossfire Hurricane probe and Democratic attorneys used their positions on the Mueller investigating team to cover up the FBI mess. Among Mr. Mueller’s initial hires were FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI analyst Brian Auten and FBI lawyer Lisa Page—all at the epicenter of the Crossfire fiasco. Of Mr. Mueller’s 18 attorneys, several worked in the Obama Justice Department during the Crossfire probe, including Andrew Weissmann—a highly partisan Democrat who attended Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election night party. They had a strong incentive to hide the truth. … All of this suggests that the Mueller probe was as much a cover-up as an attempt to find evidence of collusion. And it vindicates the view we expressed in October 2017 that Mr. Mueller, as a former FBI director, should have resigned as special counsel because he lacked the proper distance from the bureau. — Editorial Board.  (WSJ, May 19, 2023)
“The special counsel’s well-documented report lifts the veil on the cesspool of corruption that has infected the FBI for far too long. Beyond Clinton, there are many villains in this sordid story but none so contemptible as Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper and Comey. They knew it was all a cunning lie but kept silent to hide the truth. They watched as a spasm of false allegations tore the nation apart. Such silence speaks volumes about their absence of character and integrity. They were more than willing to fan the flames of political divisiveness in America. That is not leadership. It is cowardice.” – Gregg Jarrett.  (Fox News,May 22, 2023)
“If only these reporters [NY Times, Washington Post, etc. who pushed the Russiagate hoax] had a smidgen of courage. Then we could see the names [anonymous sources that they cited from within the US intelligence and law enforcement communities.] Then we could see whether the off-the-record gossip provided by the current and former US officials matched their private, closely held beliefs. What a story that would be. But we’ll never hear it.” – Techno Fog (The Reactionary, May 19, 2023)
“Knowingly using your position on House Intel to push a lie that ripped apart our country, cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and authorized spying on a US President and then proceeding to double down on the lie within days of the Durham report coming out makes you unfit for office. Ethics should investigate.” — Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) submitting a resolution to expel Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff from the House of Representatives because for intentionally promulgating the Russiagate hoax.  (Twitter, May 17, 2023)
“The left was able for decades to get through the courts, including the Supreme Court, what it couldn’t get through Congress. Today, however, liberals are trying to subvert the legitimacy of the Supreme Court because it contains a majority of justices committed to the Constitution and the rule of law. Suddenly, instead of repeatedly approving the left’s agenda, the federal judiciary has become one of its greatest impediments. Believing that they can no longer win at the courts, progressives now want to change the rules of the game. Rather than improving their legal arguments and strategy, they are attacking the referees. {Hence the attacks on Justice Clarence Thomas and the threats to “pack” the Court ]. . . The left’s grand scheme to delegitimize the courts is more than a threat to the judiciary. It is a threat to our constitutional republic. It must not succeed.” — Ed Meese and Kelly Shackleford.  (WSJ, May 16, 2023).
“One evening in 1970, a woman named Fang Zhong reached the end of her patience with the Cultural Revolution. She had put up with the torture and beating of her husband by adolescent Red Guards for being an alleged “capitalist.” Bowing to their demands, she had even denounced her husband herself, before they beat him until his urine turned red … [S]he suffered. . .without once speaking out against the architect of the chaos which was engulfing China: Chairman Mao. But on that night in 1970 … something gave way. She launched into a tirade against Mao. There was no one there to hear her except her son. That was enough. ‘If you go against my dear Chairman Mao,’ he told her, ‘I will smash your dog head.’ He reported her. Officials took her away, and two months of violent ‘struggle sessions’ followed — Feng on her knees, a sign around her neck, beaten, shouted at, denounced. Then, like countless others, she was executed. This is a past the [Communist] Party wants to forget … internet sites of commemoration have been shut down. This is all part of what Xi Jinping … calls ‘historical nihilism’ — an Orwellian phrase that means its own opposite … any version of China’s history that differs from the Party’s carefully curated narrative. To believe in anything but what the Party tells you is to believe in nothing.” — Stephen B. Platt, “The Chairman’s Children”, review of Tania Branigan, Red Memory, on the terrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution underlying the Chinese Communist Party’s claims of harmonious, orderly leadership. (WSJ, May 12, 2023)
“Today, the [Iranian] regime no longer sees the West as a necessary—or even viable—conduit for economic benefits. . . ‘Today, the U.S. is not the world’s dominant power,’ [Supreme Leader] Khamenei proclaimed in a speech last November. ‘Many of the world’s political analysts believe that the U.S. is declining’, he continued, ‘It is gradually melting away.’ He and other Iranian leaders instead see a new global locus of power shifting eastward, ‘Asia will become the center of knowledge, the center of economics, as well as the center of political power, and the center of military power,’ Khamenei exulted. He added: ‘We are in Asia’. . . Unlike the United States or Europe, Beijing and Moscow rarely condition trade or diplomatic ties on liberal norms of domestic or foreign policy. For Iranian theocrats, these are much more convenient relationships.” —  Suzanne Maloney  (Foreign Affairs, March-April 2023)

                                                    NO COMMENT!

“On one recent visit there [Los Angeles], I asked a friend … about the tents that spread all over the city–like in San Francisco. That was when I was introduced to the phrase “right to rest.” This is what Dems in California now call homelessness–specifically, the “right” to pitch a tent anywhere you like and just live there [including] a right to privacy.” –– Douglas Murray  ( NY Post, May 18, 2023)
“They lie and lie just like Goebbels. They lie, lie, and lie until people believe [the reference is to Israel making the desert bloom]. There is no proof of Jewish ties to the area of al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem [referencing Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount and its adjacent Western Wall]. “They [Israel] dug under al-Aqsa… they dug everywhere, and they could not find anything …” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking during a special session of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to mark the 75th anniversary of Nakba Day, Arabic for “Catastrophe Day,” the term Palestinians use to describe the 1948 war. The UN also held a second Nakba Day event in the General Assembly hall on Monday evening with musical performances and films. — Tovah Lazaroff  (Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2023)
“. . .the President, the Vice-President, DHS secretary, White House press secretary and others continue to lie. [Yet] some 84% of American voters back securing the borders, [and] only 27% think the Biden administration is seriously trying to secure it.” — Robert Law and Chad Wolf, Fox News, cited in NYPost Editorial Board, Fast Takes (NY Post, May 12, 2023)

                     SHORT TAKES

ISRAEL TO INVEST NIS 150 MILLION IN JEWISH EDUCATION IN N. AMERICA(Jerusalem) — The Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Ministry will invest NIS 150 million in establishing a new project to substantially expand the number of children in Jewish day schools in North America. (Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2023)
TEL AVIV MUSEUM ACQUIRES WORLD’S EARLIEST, MOST COMPLETE HEBREW BIBLE FOR $38.1 MILLION (Tel Aviv) — The 1,100-year-old Codex Sassoon, the oldest and most complete Hebrew Bible, was sold on Wednesday at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City for $38.1 million. The Hebrew Bible will become part of the core exhibition and permanent collection of the ANU – Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel, following its purchase by former US Ambassador to Romania Alfred H. Moses on behalf of the American Friends of ANU. It was on display in New York for a short-term exhibit before the Sotheby’s auction. (United With Israel, May 18, 2023)
IN FIRST, PORTUGUESE PARLIAMENT PASSES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING ISRAEL (Lisbon) — In a first, the Portuguese parliament passed a resolution in support of Israel, in a gesture for the Jewish state’s 75th anniversary. The measure calls for the expansion of the Abraham Accords, increased economic and cultural cooperation between Lisbon and Jerusalem, and a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The decision, a result of a joint effort between the Israeli ambassador to Portugal Dor Shapira and Portuguese parliament member Alexandre Poço, received support from 215 out of the legislator’s 230 members. (Times of Israel, May 19, 2023)
ISRAELI SOCCER TEAM LOSES ITS FIRST EVER GAME IN FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP IN ARGENTINA (Buenos Aires) — Israel’s first-ever match in the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup ended on Sunday in Argentina with it losing 1-2 to Columbia, who scored a late win. Israel completed its goal after half-time when Dor Turgeman made a penalty spot in the 57th minute. Colombia responded with a penalty shot from Oscar Cortez in the 74th minute followed by a second goal by Gustavo Puerta, who helped his team win the game in the 90th minute. (Algemeiner, May 22, 2023)
HEZBOLLAH STAGES WARGAMES FOR MEDIA, ASSERTS READINESS TO CONFRONT ISRAEL (Damascus) — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah put on a show of force Sunday, extending a rare media invitation to one of its training sites in southern Lebanon, where its forces staged a simulated military exercise. Masked fighters jumped through flaming hoops, fired from the backs of motorcycles, and blew up Israeli flags posted in the hills above and a wall simulating the one at the border between Lebanon and Israel. The exercise came ahead of “Liberation Day,” the annual celebration of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon on May 25, 2000, and in the wake of a recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. (VIN News, May 21, 2023)
DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM ISRAEL TO SAUDI ARABIA LIKELY NEXT MONTH(Riyadh) — Israel is working with Saudi Arabia to allow direct flights for its Muslim citizens who will undertake the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca next month. (JNS, May 22, 2023)
LEFT-WING GROUPS PUSH WHITE HOUSE TO WEAKEN RECOGNIZED ANTI-SEMITISM DEFINITION (Washington) — J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and other left-wing activists are pushing Biden officials to exclude the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism from its designation. Contrary to the left wing activists, the IHRA deems some anti-Israel rhetoric—such as equating Israel to Nazi Germany and denying the legitimacy of a Jewish homeland—antisemitic. (United With Israel, May 22, 2023)
DURHAM REPORT PUTS FOCUS ON ‘UTTER GARBAGE’ OF PUITZER PRIZES (Washington) –The Durham Report has put a focus on the Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times and the Washington Post for their “deeply sourced, relentlessly repeated coverage in the national interest that dramatically furthered the national understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connection to the Trump campaign [and] the Presidential election.” Steve Guest, an aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) called the major media’s coverage “utter garbage”; Sen., Lindsay Graham (R., S.C.) said the papers were given Pulitzers “for writing a bunch of politically motivated crap”, and termed the mainstream media, whenever they write on Trump, “dead”. Asked if the NYT should now return the prize, its newsroom and opinion spokesman, Charlie Stadtlander, said “No”. (Washington Times, May 16, 2023)
PANEL CHAIRMAN THREATENS TO HOLD BLINKEN IN CONTEMPT OVER AFGHANISTAN DOCS (Washington) — Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R.-Texas), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has threatened to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress if the State Department does not turn over classified cables related to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Involving a” dissent cable” written by diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul shortly before the August 2021 withdrawal, continued refusal to comply by Blinken could lead to a “separation of powers”- related constitutional showdown.(Washington Times, May 8, 2023)
ERDOGAN AND CHALLENGER APPEAR HEADED FOR RUNOFF ELECTION IN TURKEY (Istanbul) — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main challenger said they were both prepared to accept a runoff election later this month with neither candidate claiming an outright victory in a vote that marked the most severe political challenge to the Turkish leader’s two decades in power. Early results appeared to show neither Mr. Erdogan or his top challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, reached the 50% threshold required to avoid a runoff, which would take place on May 28. (WSJ, May 14, 2023)


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