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White House Accuses House Speaker of Helping Iran in Latest Ukraine Aid Push

US Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) is surrounded by fellow members as he speaks to reporters after securing the nomination for House Speaker from the Republican conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The White House escalated its criticism of Republican U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday, accusing him of benefitting Iran and Russia by not putting a national security bill that gives aid to Ukraine up for a vote. Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters this week, deepening the military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.

Iran is “actively enabling Russia’s war in Ukraine and its attacks against Ukrainian cities,” deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates said in a memo viewed by Reuters that will be distributed publicly Friday.

“President Biden is standing up to Iran. But where is Speaker Johnson’s supposed commitment not to ‘appease Iran‘ in all this? Nowhere. Instead, his inaction is benefiting Putin and the Ayatollah,” the memo says.

The Senate last week approved a $95 billion bill providing assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan by an overwhelming 70-30 vote, with 22 Republicans joining most Democrats in voting in favor.

But Johnson sent the House home for a two-week recess without bringing the measure up for a vote, saying “we’re not going to be forced into action by the Senate.”

Many senators and White House officials believe the bill would pass the House with bipartisan support if Johnson would allow the chamber to vote.

Johnson says any package of international military and humanitarian assistance must also include measures to address security at the U.S. border with Mexico after Republicans blocked a version of the bill that provided for the biggest overhaul of U.S. immigration policy in decades.

A spokesman for the speaker on Friday said the administration was guilty of the very thing it accused Johnson of — aiding Iran and Russia.

“The Biden administration has removed Iranian proxies from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, relaxed sanctions on Iranian oil exports, telegraphed an underwhelming military response to the Houthi attack that claimed the lives of three U.S. soldiers…,” he said by email.

He also said the administration’s recent ban on LNG export terminals forces Europe to purchase natural gas not from the U.S. but from Russia.

Top Biden administration officials spent last weekend in Europe trying to soothe jitters over the prospect of U.S. military aid to Ukraine ending, assuring counterparts from Paris, Berlin and Kyiv as the war enters its third year that Washington will somehow come through.

“Putin has signaled he could attack NATO countries the United States is obligated to defend if he succeeds in Ukraine,” the White House memo warned.

“If House Republicans facilitate Ukraine’s defeat, America could face costs infinitely more expensive than the bipartisan investments we need to make in Ukraine’s capacity to defend themselves,” it said.

Former President Donald Trump, frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and a long-standing critic of the NATO alliance, has in recent weeks threatened to abandon some European allies if they were to be attacked by Russia.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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