1. Duterte at Yad Vashem: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte paid a visit to Yad Vashem on Tuesday, and given the fact that he once approvingly likened himself to Adolf Hitler, saying he would be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts, there are a lot of different ways to read the headline “At Yad Vashem, Philippines’ Duterte pledges to fight ‘insane rulers’ like Hitler.”
- Duterte’s past comments and potty-mouthed persona heavily overshadow even the trip to the Holocaust memorial. While he didn’t say anything controversial at Yad Vashem, tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth calls him “the cursing president” and most news sites highlight his past comments while reporting on the visit.
- Interestingly, Israel Hayom, seen as a mouthpiece of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, buries any coverage of Duterte, giving him only a few paragraphs at the bottom of the last news page and not even a picture of him at Yad Vashem. The lack of coverage may reflect government embarrassment over the trip, with Netanyahu being slammed for welcoming a leader accused of terrible human rights abuses.
2. Green revolt: Haaretz reports that Duterte’s visit is also slated to include planting a tree at the Grove of Nations, in the neighboring Jerusalem Forest, where world leaders are often honored.
- Haaretz reporter Nir Hasson notes on Twitter that a tree planted by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, another controversial leader welcomed by Israel with open arms, just a couple months ago is already dying.
- The plot picked out for Duterte, close by, looks like it has about as much a chance as a drug dealer in Davao.
יער ירושלים מציל את כבודנו האבוד. העץ שנטע ויקטור אורבן כבר גוסס. ליד כבר הוכן השלט לדוטרטה. מעניין מה התורמים של קק"ל מרגישים כלפי שני העצים הללו? pic.twitter.com/XO0OwHxYvg
— nir hasson (@nirhasson) September 1, 2018
- “The Jerusalem Forest is saving our lost respect,” he quips.
3. Four “L”s: With Britain’s Labour party meeting Tuesday, the Maariv tabloid features a brutal cartoon showing party leader Jeremy Corbyn getting an eye exam.
- The doctor point to a swastika and asks what he sees. Corbyn replies that it’s four “L” s, which obviously stand for Labour.
הקריקטורה היומית במעריב, מאת אורי פינק pic.twitter.com/BwC3MT7I6l
— מעריב אונליין (@MaarivOnline) September 4, 2018
4. Where there’s a Willsman in, there’s a way out: Online, Jewish News editor Jack Mendel says some young Jewish Labourites are leaving the party over the re-election of Peter Willsman to the National Executive Committee.
So far I've seen 4 young left wing Jews quit Labour over Pete Willsman. If you are aware of others please let me know. . #journorequests
— Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) September 4, 2018
- Willsman, who got in trouble for saying anti-Semitism allegations in the party were being made up by “Jewish Trump fanatics,” beat out Eddie Izzard with some 70,000 votes, in a show of support for Corbyn and his cronies.
- One former Labourite jokes that he can now spend his 12 pound membership fee on “cream cheese-related goods” instead.
In deciding if (and when) to leave the Labour Party I told myself I'd wait to see if unambiguous antisemite Willsman was reelected to the NEC. He was. I'm out. Now I've got a spare £12 to spend on cream-cheese-related goods. Result.
— Joe Grabiner (@joegrabiner) September 3, 2018
5. Less Greenblatt: A day after US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt wrote a column in Israel Hayom, the tabloid reports that the Palestinians “are unhappy to say the least.”
- The paper reports that Ramallah is demanding that Greenblatt be removed from the Trump administration’s peace team as a “central” precondition for coming back to the table.
- “Greenblatt’s piece in Israel Hayom clarifies the biased stance of the US administration and Greenblatt himself in favor of Israel, and total rejection of the Palestinians’ legitimate demands,” the paper quotes a close aide to Abbas saying.
6. Putting the confederation before the horse: After Abbas seemingly backed the idea of a confederation with Jordan and possibly the Israel as a way forward earlier this week, Haaretz’s lead editorial rejects the idea totally, saying a Palestinian state would need to be a prerequisite for such a scheme.
- “A confederation, according to the usual definition, is an alliance between sovereign states that see eye to eye regarding economic, security and national interests, and hope that the alliance will be beneficial to both. A Palestinian-Jordanian confederation therefore would also require international recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state, within recognized borders,” the paper writes.
7. Idlib cries out: With Russian-backed Syrian regime forces apparently readying for an all-out fight over Idlib, the last major rebel holdout in the country, fears are spreading of a possible humanitarian disaster.
- Things have gotten so bad that apparently some are not afraid to reach out to Israelis to please their case.
- “The Western world doesn’t care what happen to Syria,” an Idlib-area man named Muatasem Farij tells Yedioth Ahronoth. “Trump pulled out American troops, Europe can’t be bothered to intervene and we are exposed. Somebody needs to come and get things in order or get us out here.”
- “We have nowhere to hide because we don’t know where and when they will start firing on Idlib,” he adds.
8. Back to bombing Syria: Israel, which has maintained a policy of non-intervention, likely won’t stick its neck out now.
- But Haaretz reports that a number of strikes in Syria over the weekend shows that the IDF has ended a short lull during which it stopped bombing Iranian facilities and weapons depots in a bid to keep Tehran from gaining a foothold in the country.
- That includes a strike on a military airport near Damascus attributed by some to Israel, an even more mysterious strike on a regime/Iranian convoy in the eastern desert, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman signaling that Israel may take action in Iraq as well against Iran.
- “It seems that Israel is signaling that it has gone back to operations as usual. As long as it identifies a danger, which to Israel also means deviating from understandings with the Russians, Israel reserves the right to respond,” Amos Harel writes.
9. Erran moronic: Between threatening hints, Liberman found time to make this silly video, put out by his Yisrael Beytenu party Wednesday, riffing on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Israeli tough guy persona.
שנה טובה לחיילי צה"ל. עם ישראל אוהב אתכם! pic.twitter.com/XwgjQ6FmA1
— אביגדור ליברמן (@AvigdorLiberman) September 4, 2018
- Coming from someone who said Education Minister Naftali Bennett should stick to taking care of his own field, given the “comedic” caliber of the clip, Liberman might be best taking his own advice.