Happy Monday! He ended up going with the 10-year, $700 million contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Shohei Ohtani had a very competitive offer on the table from The Dispatch that would have made him one of the highest paid two-way writer/podcasters in the industry. Guess he didn’t think he could handle the heat from our comment section.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The U.S. on Friday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. “When it comes to a ceasefire in this moment, with Hamas still alive, still intact, and again, with the stated intent of repeating October 7 again and again and again, that would simply perpetuate the problem,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday, though he noted Thursday that there is a “gap” between “the intent to protect civilians and the actual results that we’re seeing on the ground.” The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continued its operations in southern Gaza over the weekend, engaging Hamas fighters and searching for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar—a key priority in their campaign to eradicate the terrorist group’s leadership. The Biden administration on Friday bypassed Congress and approved the expedited sale of $106 million in tank ammunition to Israel.
- Six IDF soldiers were injured in drone attacks on northern Israel by Hezbollah on Sunday, as the Israeli Air Force launched a series of airstrikes targeting the Lebanese terrorist organization in response to the repeated attacks the Iranian-backed group has launched along the Israel-Lebanon border—including one on Thursday that killed a 60-year-old Israeli farmer. Tzachi Hanegb, Israel’s national security adviser, signaled on Saturday that outright war with Hezbollah could begin once Hamas is defeated in Gaza. “The situation in the north must be changed,” he said. “And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don’t believe it will.”
- The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was struck on Friday with seven mortar rounds, marking the largest such attack in more than a year—though no injuries were reported and there was only minor structural damage. U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria were further targeted with drones and missiles throughout the day on Friday. No group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack, though Iran-sponsored militants have targeted U.S. military facilities in the region at least 78 times since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
- The White House announced on Sunday a meeting scheduled for Tuesday between President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Biden will underscore his “unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion.” While in Washington, Zelensky is scheduled to deliver remarks before an all-senators meeting and meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson. Zelensky participated in Argentinian President Javier Milei’s inauguration on Sunday, and met with leaders from Uruguay, Paraguay, and Ecuador over the weekend in an effort to win support from the Global South for Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
- Armenia and Azerbaijan announced on Thursday an agreement to exchange prisoners and begin work on a potential peace treaty. “The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan share the view that there is a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region,” the Armenian prime minister’s office and Azerbaijan’s presidential administration said in a landmark joint statement, drafted without an apparent mediator. “Two countries reconfirm their intention to normalize relations and to reach the peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Previous talks have involved outside arbitrators like the U.S. and Russia, and the direct negotiations have raised hopes of normalized relations in the Caucasus following Azerbaijan’s violent takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh in September.
- Prosecutors from the anti-corruption unit in Guatemala’s attorney general’s office claimed Friday that the results of the country’s presidential elections should be invalidated, citing “irregularities” in the votes—general election and runoff—that took place this summer. The current president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, came in a surprise second place during the general election and went on to win the runoff in August. Arévalo, who is set to take office in January, responded by saying the prosecutors are attempting a coup in response to his promises to fight corruption and graft in the political establishment. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which oversees Guatemala’s elections, also pushed back against the prosecutors’ claims, arguing “the results are validated, formalized, and unchangeable.” International observers—including U.S. officials—have also decried the prosecutors’ efforts as an attempt to nullify the elections.
- Six teenage students were convicted on Friday in connection with the 2020 beheading of the French school teacher, Samuel Paty. Paty had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad while debating free expression, and Abdoullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old Chechen, stabbed and beheaded the teacher near the school where he worked. Anzorov was killed by police at the time of the attack, but five of the students, all of them boys, were found guilty of criminal conspiracy with intent to cause violence. They helped Anzorov identify Paty but said they didn’t know he intended to kill the teacher. The sixth student, the only girl, was found guilty of making false accusations against the teacher that contributed to online backlash.
- University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned from her post on Saturday in the wake of her appearance last week at a congressional hearing on antisemitism on college campuses. Magill faced immediate calls to resign from alumni and donors—including one donor who pulled a $100 million donation. Scott Bok, chairman of Penn’s board of trustees, also announced his resignation on Saturday, but expressed support for the embattled president. Magill will stay on in an interim capacity while the school searches for her replacement.
- Tornadoes and thunderstorms hit Middle Tennessee on Saturday, killing six near Nashville and Clarksville and injuring more than 60 others. The aftermath left more than 52,000 people without power and dozens of buildings damaged or destroyed. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency yesterday.
- John Whitmire, a Democratic state senator in Texas, defeated Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in Houston’s mayoral race on Saturday, winning a runoff election with a decisive 64 percent of the vote. The runoff focused on public safety and policing with Whitmire running on a tough-on-crime platform. “Great cities solve their problems,” he said in his victory speech on Saturday night. “We will make this a safer city.”
Elite Colleges Offer Terrible Congressional Testimony
On December 5, the presidents of three elite U.S. universities—Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn)—testified before Congress about their institutions’ responses to the rise in antisemitism on their campuses since Hamas’ October 7 terror attack on Israel. To say it didn’t go well would be an understatement.
A grilling by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York on Wednesday had serious consequences for the three schools—public condemnations, awkward walkbacks, a looming Congressional investigation, and, for Penn, resignations at the highest level. The episode makes clear that elite universities—which already have a checkered history on free speech—are on extraordinarily thin ice with alumni, donors, and a bipartisan collection of politicians all calling on them to do better for their Jewish students as the semester draws to a close.
In the two months since Israel’s war against the terrorist organization began, antisemitic incidents on college campuses have skyrocketed. According to a November survey from the Anti-Defamation League, an advocacy organization that tracks antisemitism, 73 percent of Jewish students have witnessed or experienced some form of antisemitism since the beginning of this school year. Prior to this year, 70 percent of Jewish students reported witnessing or experiencing antisemitism at some point during their entire college experience.