June 24, 2024 - 6:40pm

→ Ursula von der Leyen’s Pfizer hypocrisy

The European Commission has fined American company International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) and its French affiliate €15.9 million ($17.05 million) for obstructing an antitrust investigation into an alleged cartel in the fragrance industry. The Commission found that “during the inspection (in March 2023), a senior employee of IFF intentionally deleted WhatsApp messages exchanged with a competitor.” But some are saying it’s not just the corruption that smells, it’s the potential hypocrisy.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has had her own problem with “lost” messages. In February 2023, the New York Times sued von der Leyen “over controversial private text messages exchanged with Albert Bourla, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer”. Those texts were allegedly the negotiations to secure a €35-billion vaccine deal.

As Thomas Fazi wrote in UnHerd at the time: “The EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner Věra Jourová later claimed that the text messages may have been deleted, due to their ‘short-lived, ephemeral nature’.” Short-lived, ephemeral WhatsApp messages — why do those ring a bell?

→ Trans activists barricade women’s rights event in Brighton

There was widespread shock yesterday when a women’s rights event was the target of verbal abuse and threats of physical violence in one of the most progressive cities in the country.

Videos from the Let Women Speak event in Brighton show trans activists shouting “No terfs on our turf” and “Go ahead and run, you Nazi scum.” An ominous picture shows activists dressed in black with face masks holding trans rights flags near where the women were gathered. Later, attendees were led by police into a nearby shop for their safety, whereupon activists barricaded them in.

According to the writer Julie Burchill, Alan Baker, who calls himself “Sarah Jane”, was in attendance. Baker is “a convicted kidnapper, and attempted murderer, who claims he cut his own testicles off and ate them”. That should make everyone feel safe, then…

→ Anti-Israel demonstrators target LA synagogue

The Israel-Palestine conflict continues to drive local and national politics in the US. This time, fights broke out after anti-Israel protesters blocked the entrance to a synagogue in Los Angeles in an incident widely condemned as antisemitic.

The city’s mayor and the Governor of California, both Democrats, came out against the anti-Israel agitators. But one local man said the Jewish community had been unsuccessfully begging police and elected officials in the heavily blue area for weeks to do something to protect them during the planned demonstrations.

It’s the latest in a long string of incidents pushing Jewish voters away from the Democrats since 7 October, driven primarily by many progressives’ antagonistic view of Israel — though soft-on-crime policies which breed public disorder probably aren’t helping. With peace talks faltering, the issue isn’t going away any time soon.