News Digest — 12/13/19

Israel Relieved At Johnson’s Win In UK

Israel expressed relief at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s loss in the UK general election overnight Thursday (12th), congratulating UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on securing a majority.

Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account: “Congratulations my friend Boris Johnson on your historic victory.  This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us.”

Israeli officials and lawmakers pointed to the many accusations by Jeremy Corbyn himself, and the fact that he allowed hatred of Jews and Israel to grow, unfettered in Labour.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Johnson’s victory is “not just political.  It is first and foremost a victory of values.”

“Never before has Britain run an election with monstrous anti-Semitism hovering over it, like this time,” he stated.

“The many that voted against it are a badge of honor that deserve our appreciation for the values of Britain and its history.  This should be an example and important milestone in the fight against hatred.”

Katz said Israel is committed to deepening its partnership with the UK, “a close and important friend of Israel.”

Other Israeli leaders responded to the impressive victory, saying that under Corbyn, Labour has cozied up to Israel’s enemies and anti-Semites, and his failure will be a great relief to the British Jewish community.



European Jews Are Breathing A Sigh Of Relief After Corbyn Loss

With the results of the UK’s general election Thursday (12th) pointing to a decisive victory for the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Chairman of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association said that Jews across the continent would be breathing a collective sigh of relief at the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chief of the European Jewish Association, which represents hundreds of Jewish communities across the continent, said Jewish opposition to Corbyn was not partisan.

“The potential election of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister for us and the vast majority of Jews was not a story of left or right, but about what is right and what is wrong.”

“The election to the highest elected office in the United Kingdom of an avowed Israel hater whose approach to eradicating anti-Semitism was anodyne and recalcitrant at best, would have been a devastating signal not only to Britain Jewry, but to Jews everywhere.”

“We fully agree with the Chief Rabbi’s assessment that he is wholly unfit for office.  It appears that a majority of the British electorate are of similar opinion.”

“This morning – as Jews across Europe wake up to the news coming out of the United Kingdom – we will be collectively breathing a sigh of relief.”

With 648 out of 650 races called for Britain’s Parliament, the Conservatives have won 363 seats, compared to just 203 for Labour, giving the Conservatives a wide majority.

Labour Chairman Jeremy Corbyn announced that following his party’s defeat, he would be stepping down as party leader before the next general election.



Netanyahu Thanks Trump For Executive Order ‘Against Discrimination Of Jews’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday (12th) thanked US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order extending US federal anti-discrimination enforcement to include Jews.

“Thank you President Trump, for your executive order against discrimination of the Jewish people.  Free speech is not carte blanche for anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement after Trump signed the order the day before.

Opposition MK Yair Lapid, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, tweeted his congratulations to Trump for “the order that kicks at the boycott Israel movement and fights campus anti-Semitism.  The fight against anti-Semitism and BDS is existential and it is good that we have a friend in the White House.”

Trump signed the order Wednesday (11th) at the White House Hanukkah party.

This action makes clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits the federal funding of universities and other institutions that engage in discrimination, applies to institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate,” Trump said before signing the document.

“This is our message to universities: If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism,’ he added.  “It’s very simple.”

Trump said that part of his rationale for moving forward with the order was to target the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.



Lebanese Defense Minister Scolds Iran For Presuming Lebanon Is Theirs To Use

Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab took to Twitter on Tuesday (10th) to condemn a statement made by a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who suggested that Iran would use Lebanon as a proxy to destroy Israel.

“These statements are unfortunate and unacceptable.  They are a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which enjoys ties of friendship with Iran which should not infringe on its independent decision-making in any way, shape or form,” Bou Saab tweeted.

In a Tuesday (10th) interview with the Persian-language Mizan Online news agency, IRGC General Morteza Qorbani said that if provoked Iran would attack Israel from Lebanon.

“If the Zionist  regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon,” Qorbani said.  “Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel is too small to make a mistake toward Iran. If the Supreme Leader orders a missile attack against Israel, all Zionists will raise their hands and surrender.”

“The hearts and souls of the people of Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq are with Iran, and the recent events in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran aim to strike the unity of the resistance from including the Islamic Republic,” he added.

In a rare response by the Iranian government on the matter, IRGC Spokesman Ramezan Sharif said “reviews show that General Morteza Qorbani’s remarks have been misinterpreted and misquoted by the media,” reported Iran’s Fars News Agency on Wednesday (11th).

Sharif added, “General Qorbani had, in fact, meant to speak of response to Israel by various means and capacities.”

Sharif also said that Bou Saab was right to speak out because it exposed “the Saudi-Zionist media comments about Qorbani’s remarks.”



Senate Passes Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide

The US Senate on Thursday (12th) unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes as a genocide the mass killings of Armenians a century ago, Reuters reported.

The resolution asserts that it is US policy to commemorate as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1923.  The Ottoman Empire was centered in present-day Turkey.

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings in the Ottoman era as genocide, which they say left some 1.5 million of their people dead.

Turkey – the Ottoman Empire’s successor state – strongly rejects that the massacres, imprisonment and forced deportation of Armenians from 1915 amounted to genocide.

The Democratic House of Representatives passed the resolution by an overwhelming 405-11 in late October.

Turkey, which summoned the US ambassador for a dressing-down following the October vote in the House, said on Thursday (12th) that Congress recognition of the Armenian genocide puts US-Turkey ties at risk.

In 2016, Germany recognized the massacre of the Armenians as a genocide, similarly raising the ire of Turkey which recalled its ambassador to Germany.

Austria and Russia have also recognized the Armenian genocide, angering NATO-member Turkey.