Howard Jacobson: Anti-Zionists are fools if they think they have a monopoly on compassion
Instead, this being Israel Apartheid Week, allow me, one last time, to address the charge made frequently against anyone for whom Zionism isn’t a dirty word, that such a personage wilfully and maliciously conflates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in order to discredit the former.David Cameron is no friend of the truth
Since I am one of the personages so charged, no matter that I have never conflated the two, I will repeat my innocence of the accusation. No, I do not say that an anti-Zionist must be an anti-Semite. Might I ever have said it? Perhaps where anti-Zionism comes to mean that Jews can go to hell in a handcart I might have thought it; but where the anti-Zionism is contingent not eschatolgical, a condemnation of a particular series of political choices and events, not an indictment of heartless expansionism lodged forever in the Jewish character, then no, I am not a conflator. Condemn away, I say.
What I do, however, maintain is that an anti-Zionist might be an anti-Semite and, in some instances, demonstrably is. Whatever its originating motives, anti-Zionism has become, for those who want to use it this way, a get-out-of-jail-free card. Anything can now be said about Jews under cover of anti-Zionism, as though, because an anti-Zionist need not be an anti-Semite, it must, by a perverse logic, follow that he never is.
What those who warn against confusing Israel-hatred with Jew-hatred must answer is why the two frequently confuse themselves. The recent alleged goings-on at Oxford and other campuses suggests that the distinct line which anti-Zionists wish to see drawn between their ideology and anti-Semitism is not respected within their own movement. Call a Jew a Zio, perpetuate the blood libel and mutter of worldwide Jew conspiracy, and you either betray the purity of intention you claim for your cause, or you demonstrate there was never such a purity in the first place.
I won’t play the game of “you suspect my motives so I suspect yours”. I simply ask of those who believe I cannot make a distinction whether the blurring they see is theirs not mine. Look into your hearts. How innocent are you?
Last week, in what became a widely discussed incident here in Israel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a discussion at the British Parliament, called Israeli construction in East Jerusalem “genuinely shocking”, while insisting at the same time, that he is a “great friend of Israel”.Gallup: Americans still overwhelmingly support Israel
What's genuinely shocking, is David Cameron's historical ignorance, hypocrisy and utter lack of moral clarity.
From the Islamic theocracies of Iran and Saudi Arabia, through the Sunni-Shia blood baths in Iraq and Syria, to all the offshoots of the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Muslim brotherhood across the entire length of North Africa, the Islamic Mideast is producing some of the most horrifying levels of rampant murderous violence and persecutions the world has seen in the 21st century.
In the 20th century, the Arab and Islamic mideast was ethnically cleansed of its Jewish population, people who had lived across many parts of the region for more than 2,000 years. Now in the 21st century, religious persecution of the remaining ancient Christian communities, along with other ancient minorities, is occurring before our eyes, as they are brutally persecuted and ethnically cleansed across many parts of the Islamic Mideast and Africa.
Gallup released today its annual survey of American opinion regarding Israel and the Palestinians.
The survey shows that support for Israel versus the Palestinians remains near historical highs, slightly up from last year:
Americans’ views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained steady over the past year, with 62% of Americans saying their sympathies lie more with the Israelis and 15% favoring the Palestinians. About one in four continue to be neutral, including 9% who sympathize with neither side, 3% who sympathize with both, and 11% expressing no opinion.
David Horovitz: Victory for BDS as SodaStream’s last Palestinian workers lose jobs
Two years ago, The Times of Israel reported on SodaStream’s plant at the West Bank industrial zone of Mishor Adumim, where the Israeli carbonated beverage company was employing 1,300 workers. Of that workforce, 350 were Israeli Jews, 450 were Israeli Arabs and 500 were West Bank Palestinians. Management and staff confirmed to our reporter that pay and benefits were identical for workers in comparable jobs, irrespective of their citizenship and ethnicity.Revisiting a Scandal at Vassar
We headlined the article, “At SodaStream, Palestinians hope their bubble won’t burst.”
On Monday, it did.
On Monday, SodaStream reluctantly announced that it was laying off its last 75 Palestinian workers, having failed to secure permits from the Israeli government for them to work at its new factory in the southern Israeli Bedouin town of Rahat. Under pressure from anti-Israel boycott groups, which launched a ferocious campaign against SodaStream and its spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson, the firm had closed its Mishor Adumim plant last October.
Hundreds of Palestinians who had been treated equitably by a fair-minded, decent Israeli firm are now out of work. (h/t Bob Knot)
It bears repeating. Jasbir Puar, a professor of gender studies at Rutgers University, visited Vassar College to explain the Jewish state’s policy of deliberate maiming, especially of children, not with a view toward “winning or losing” or “a solution” but with a view to acquiring “body parts… for research and experimentation.” In this modernized blood libel, the vampiric Jewish state particularly craves the blood of children to serve its inhuman purposes. Several departments and programs, including Jewish Studies, sponsored Puar’s talk, and several professors attended. Yet, in a lengthy question and answer session Puar was not challenged, unless you count the questioner who worried that her focus on human beings had caused her to neglect Israel’s crimes against trees.Roseanne Barr in Oakland: another Jewish woman who will not be silenced
Mark Yudof, former president of the University of California, and Kenneth Waltzer, professor emeritus of history at Michigan State University, responded sensibly to all this in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (behind a pay wall). They noted, correctly, that Puar’s talk was part of a history of anti-Israel activity at Vassar that has occasionally crossed the line into overt anti-Semitism. They added that the Puar lecture was a new low and that faculty members and President Catharine Bond Hill ought to “confront [the] wave of anti-Semitism with… free speech and rigorous academic inquiry.” They didn’t say Puar should have been barred from speaking, though their argument implies that sponsoring her talk was breathtakingly poor judgment. They merely called on members of Vassar’s faculty and administration to challenge Puar’s claims.
This was too much for Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. It has been a while since I earned my B.A. in philosophy, but I’ll try to keep up with his argument.
Puar, Stanley begins, is a well-known scholar who has written a book “that has been cited over 1700 times.” How dare, we are to ask ourselves, Yudof and Waltzer, question someone who has been cited so many times? Suitably chagrined, we move on to Stanley’s observation that Yudof and Waltzer “[attribute] to Puar the claim that Israel allows Palestinians only the bare minimum needed to survive, and that Israel mines the organs of dead Palestinians for scientific research.” Note Stanley’s philosophical caution. One can’t be confident that Puar said these things. Unless, that is, one were to review the transcript that others obtained weeks ago from the alumni group that recorded the lecture.
The social hall at Oakland's Congregation Beth Abraham was filled last night with people who had gathered to hear the story of comedienne Roseanne Barr's dramatic transformation into an active supporter of the state of Israel.Roseanne Barr 'might be moving' to Israel
Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein's attempt to organize a protest fell flat and the program went on without a hitch. Good to see that no one outside of Press TV takes him too seriously.
The reality was very different. Roseanne discussed growing up Jewish in Salt Lake city. She discussed her socialist orientation, and she discussed her fascination with the story of Purim, and with Queen Esther, another Jewish woman who would not be silenced. Roseanne Barr used the talk at Congregation Beth Abraham to express her desire for peaceful co-existence in the region, stating,
"If I could get one Palestinian grandmother to join me, me and her – I would be the representative of the Jewish people and she would be of the Palestinians – we would sit down and hammer out a peace agreement and hand it to the people in power. I don't see why that can't happen. Last time I was in Israel, I sought out Palestinian women and had wonderful conversations with them, and I will probably seek them out again."
Roseanne Barr, the famous American comedian and actress, has recently become a leading advocate of Israel, and on Saturday night she revealed she may be moving to the Jewish state.Rubio, Trump and Israel
Speaking before around 200 Jewish supporters at the Conservative synagogue Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, California, she said, "I'm going there (to Israel) for Purim, and I might be moving there, too," reports Haaretz on Sunday.
"We might all be moving there," she added to the audience. The comments were made during an event sponsored by the pro-Israeli group StandWithUs.
When asked how the American Jewish community should respond to the growing anti-Israel activity on US campuses, Barr said, "the thing that needs to happen is that Jewish donors need to stop supporting universities that allow Nazism on their campuses. I mean these Jewish donors are just sending their kids to be beat up, and it makes no sense at all."
Rubio has been consistent in his grasp of why Israel and America are both the good guys and natural allies.Rubio, Cruz pounce on Trump’s KKK hesitation
At a rally on Wednesday night, in the lead-up to the final debate before Super Tuesday on March 1, Rubio was inspired and inspiring on this point.
“We’re going to have a policy of moral clarity,” he said. “I’ll give you a perfect example – Israel. Israel is the only pro-American free-enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East. I’ll put it to you this way: If there were more Israels in the Middle East – more pro-American, free-enterprise democracies – the world would be so much safer.”
He also attacked the UN for being “obsessed” with the Jewish state. “Every week, they’ve got new resolutions condemning Israel,” he said, using this to illustrate the “new face of anti-Semitism in the world.”
As for the Palestinians, Rubio said, “They teach little kids – five-year-olds – that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews.”
Indeed, he emphasized, “The Palestinians don’t want a deal [and] they’ve already said, ‘We want to destroy Israel.’ So what are you going to negotiate? The rate of the destruction? The date of the destruction? We will not be an impartial advocate when it comes to the issue of Israel. When I’m president, we’re going to take sides. We are going to be on Israel’s side.”
Even before Rubio announced he would be running for America’s highest office, however, he made impassioned speeches on Israel’s behalf.
Trump was asked Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether he rejected support from David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, and other white supremacists after Duke told his radio followers this week that a vote against Trump was equivalent to “treason to your heritage.”JPost: Jerusalem Post Editorial: Argentina and the Nisman probe
“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. OK?” Trump told host Jake Tapper. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”
Trump was asked Friday by journalists how he felt about Duke’s support. He said he didn’t know anything about it and curtly said: “All right, I disavow, ok?”
Later Sunday he tweeted that “as I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke — I disavow.”
Trump hasn’t always claimed ignorance on Duke’s history. In 2000, he wrote a New York Times op-ed explaining why he abandoned the possibility of running for president on the Reform Party ticket. He wrote of an “underside” and “fringe element” of the party, concluding, “I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep.”
The timing of Sáenz’s decision to file a legal brief seems to be connected to political changes in Argentina’s leadership. Indeed, it is a credit to newly elected President Mauricio Macri and to the forces of normalization in Argentina that Sáenz has come forward.Peres against BDS: Nothing will deter me from fighting for Israel
Macri, who has strong ties with Argentina’s Jewish community, pledged to illuminate the mystery of Nisman’s death. After taking office in December, he met with Salgado and Nisman’s two daughters.
A number of questions remain. Why was no gunpowder found on Nisman’s hand? What should be made of testimony that Nisman’s body was moved before a proper investigation could be conducted and that it took 11 hours from the time Nisman stopped answering his phone until police were brought into his apartment? Why is it that his apartment seems to have been wiped of fingerprints? Getting to the bottom of Nisman’s death is not just about justice for Nisman. It is not even about solving the bombing of the Jewish community center, which killed 85 people and wounded more than 300. It is about redeeming Argentina’s corrupt political system.
If Argentina’s political leaders and judicial system can bring Nisman’s murderers to justice – assuming he was indeed murdered – there is hope that Argentina will realize its true potential as an economic and cultural powerhouse.
If, on the other hand, the Nisman case and the investigation in the 1994 bombing remain obscured by a paralyzed legal system and an irredeemably corrupt political system, the unrealized potential of Argentina that Argentineans so often lament will remain out of reach.
The Macri government faces formidable challenges in reversing the legacy of more than a decade of Kirchnerism. But few challenges are more formidable than overcoming the forces that have prevented clarity and justice in the Nisman case and in the Jewish community bombing.
Former President Shimon Peres addresses Johannesburg Jewish community in event saluting Israel • South African security deploys around event as anti-Israel BDS protesters stage demonstrations • Peres to protesters: In Israel, racism is a crime.Seth Frantzman: Oberlin College’s free speech shield for racism and fascism
While anti-Israel BDS activists staged protests outside, former President Shimon Peres addressed the Jewish community in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, dismissing criticism leveled by the protesters against Israel.
"Any threats or attempts to hurt us and Israel will not deter me from standing on this stage and fighting the just war of the State of Israel. I am proud to stand here tonight," Peres said in his keynote address.
Streets were closed off across Johannesburg ahead of the event, and security forces were deployed to ensure that the BDS protests did not get out of hand. Peres' office issued a statement before the event saying that the boycott movement had not succeeded in harming the event, which aimed to strengthen the Jewish community in Johannesburg and salute Israel.
In his speech, Peres said that "you are a warm, Zionistic and loving community. I know you are going through difficult times and I come to you today with a strengthening message of love from the citizens of the State of Israel."
And as nice as the US tradition of free speech is, it doesn’t mean those with views like Joseph Goebbels automatically get the right to teach a class.‘Radical’ Irish commentator Eamonn McCann and false Zionist quotes
The Karega case at Oberlin symbolizes the way in which attacks on Jews, including “Rothschild-AIDs” conspiracies and other racist bigotry, are not seen as deserving of widespread solidarity or even offense. A similarly homophobic, sexist or Islamophobic professor, or one who had vile views regarding black people, would be met with mass student and faculty protests. Claim that Jews control the world, though, and it’s fine. Claim that AIDs is a Jewish conspiracy, no problem. Call IS “Islamic” and it’s offensive; call it a “Mossad operation” and that’s fine.
You’d think faculty and students would at least be offended by ignorance, if not racism, but they remain silent.
It’s unfortunate that faculty and students are not outraged.
But Jews can still show America that they don’t accept the “free speech” shield for anti-Semitism. If Facebook posts reminiscent of 1930s anti-Semitism don’t galvanize a mass protest at Oberlin then it’s the US Jewish community that has lost its willingness to stand up and say “enough.” When faculty who express hate against Jews are defended by their university, and show no contrition, the only proper place for Jewish people is civil disobedience and direct action. Oberlin has signaled its unwillingness to examine vile racism. Either people decide today that claiming the Rothschilds spread AIDs is unacceptable coming from faculty, or they let it pass and surrender the rights of Jewish students not to be subjected to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion by their professors.
Racism on social media is not “personal,” it is public, and faculty who express bigotry must be confronted. Failure to confront them lends legitimacy to their views.
Eamonn McCann is a “socialist activist” and Irish political commentator who often regales readers with anti-Zionist agitprop so hyperbolic that it could have originated from Soviet Department for Agitation and Propaganda.Cancellation of Israeli Diplomat’s Appearance at Leeds University Sparks Row Between Organizers and Pro-BDS Group
McCann has expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah, hurled a version of the ‘Zionism equals racism’ charge, evoked the ‘chosen people’ canard, suggested that Jews falsely cry antisemitism to stifle debate on Israel and ruminated over whether “rich Zionists” control US foreign policy.
In his latest intellectually unserious attack on Israel, published at the Belfast Telegraph (Silence deafening over Netanyahu’s disgusting racism, Feb. 24), McCann complains that there’s a dearth of critical scrutiny over the racist sins of the Jewish state. As you’ll see, what McCann refers to as Israel’s “compendium of bigotry” involves a few alleged quotes by Israeli prime ministers, all either taken out of context, distorted or otherwise misrepresented.
Palestinians are “wild beasts”.
The first example McCann cites is Netanyahu’s alleged reference “to Palestinians” as “wild beasts”, a ‘racist’ charge, he complains, that didn’t elicit even a “mild condemnation in the mainstream media”.
McCann is wrong on two counts.
An Israeli diplomat’s appearance at a major British university was cancelled at the last minute Wednesday under disputed circumstances, The Algemeiner has learned.Renowned Movie Producer Robert Lantos Weighs In On Jew-Hate At York University
The University of Leeds claimed the student group that sponsored a public interview about the Iran nuclear deal with Israeli Embassy spokesman Yiftah Curiel had cancelled the event; the group — — the Politics and International Studies Society (POLIS) — said the student union, under pressure from a pro-Palestinian student organization, was behind the cancellation.
According to a university statement obtained by The Algemeiner, POLIS cancelled the event because it was “unable to secure speakers who could offer alternative viewpoints.”
POLIS denied this claim its Facebook page, stating that the Leeds University Union’s assertion the cancellation was due to “matters relating to the paperwork and lack of time” was unsatisfactory, because the event had been “several months in the planning and had sufficient provisions to ensure an informed and lively discussion.”
An open letter from Robert Lantos, Canada's most prominent film producer and the driving force behind hit movies such as Eastern Promises and Barney's Version:Oscar-nominated Palestinian: I don’t represent a country or a people
Dear Dr. Shoukri,
I have observed over the years the transformation of York University from an academic institution into an incubator of hate and violence against the Jewish people. The disgraceful intimidation of Jewish students on your campus, coupled with the relentless defamation of Israel and your indifference to it all, have no place in a peace loving, liberal democracy like ours.
Under your watch, the university has lost its way as a place of learning, tolerance and diversity. You have taken shameful refuge behind legal cover and invoked neutrality in the anti Semitic mural controversy, which itself is symptomatic of the overall toxic environment on your campus. You stay on the sidelines rather than use the power of your office to stand up to the storm troopers who turn your institution into a podium for the incitement to violence against the Jewish people. In my film Sunshine, there is a character who, after the genocide of Hungary's Jewish population, asks an eyewitness, "How could you just let it happen?" A bystander with the power to intervene who chooses to do nothing ceases to be a bystander. He becomes indistinguishable from the perpetrator. If you are not part of the solution Dr. Shoukri, you become part of the problem.
I urge you, in your capacity as President of York, to take immediate and concrete action to remove the offensive mural as the first step toward restoring an atmosphere of peace and respect on your campus. Sweep Jew hatred to the gutter, where it belongs.
Robert Lantos, CM
A British-Palestinian director whose Oscar-nominated short film deals with the Arab-Jewish conflict has said he does not view himself as representing a people or a political faction, only himself.Sourcing an anti-Israel libel promoted on BBC Radio 4
“If I win the Oscar I will be winning for me, not for any country or people,” Basil Khalil told Haaretz Sunday ahead of the ceremony in Los Angeles.
Khalil’s film comedic film “Ave Maria” depicts the unlikely cooperation between a settler family who crash their car into a West Bank convent just before Shabbat, and the nuns, under a vow of silence, who try to help them get back on the road.
The humor is derived both from the barrier posed by each side’s religious obligations, and from the fact that, far from depicting a picture of rosy coexistence, the film makes it clear that the only reason the two sides work together is that they can’t wait to get away from each other.
“I wanted to make a comedy, and to say something about normal human beings and awkwardness, and about a culture clash — without political slogans being thrown around everywhere,” Khalil told Haaretz. “Politics and slogans one can get for free on the nightly news.”
When anti-Israel campaigner Ken Loach appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight’ on February 25th, one of the more delusional allegations heard by listeners (and the competition was tough) was that during the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israeli troops “executed” Hebrew speakers in the Gaza Strip.The World Tonight 25 2George Galloway booed at Brexit rally
“Will they go to Gaza and see the rubble? Will they see the schools that were bombed by Israel in 2014? Will they see the hospitals that were targeted by Israel? Will they see the places where families were herded together and then executed? Will they hear about the people who were asked if they spoke Hebrew and if they spoke Hebrew they were executed?”
Not only was that allegation – and the many others – not questioned or challenged by the BBC’s Ritula Shah but Loach was not even asked to provide a source for such a serious charge. Hence, we decided to look for its source ourselves and the search did not take very long.
The inventor of that defamation is a man who has made a career out of lying about Israel – Max Blumenthal – and in 2014 he touted it at the so-called ‘Russell Tribunal on Palestine’, with further amplification from Rania Khalek at ‘electronic Intifada’.
Galloway’s reemergence in the Brexit context is making some waves. While Galloway’s anti-Semitism may appeal to the nativists among the Brexit supporters, it is apparently alienating others.George Galloway’s firm goes bust, owing £100,000 tax
Last week, Galloway was the surprise guest at a Brexit rally, and not all in the audience were pleased. According to Huffington Post:
A huge anti-EU rally in Westminster ended on a controversial note this evening after more than a hundred people walked out as George Galloway took the stage.
The Respect Party leader was unveiled as the special guest at the end of the Grassroots Out event, prompting cries of “anti-Semite” from some in the crowd.
As people flocked from the hall, organisers were seen by the Huffington Post UK telling security staff to “shut the doors” in fear of a mass walk out.
One man who walked out told the Huff Post UK: “He’s a despicable person: anti-Israel, supporting terrorist organisations, supporting Hamas, supporting Hezbollah.”
George Galloway’s firm through which he channelled pay from Iranian TV has been wound up owing £100,000 in tax, The Telegraph can disclose.2 months later, anti-Semitic graffiti remains at Polish Jewish cemetery
Miranda Media Ltd was compulsorily liquidated after HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) took it to court over a debt of £100,284.76.
Mr Galloway, who says the debt “is nothing like that”, set up second firm Molucca Media as action loomed. It has assets of £150,000.
The former MP, who is standing for London mayor and is the far Left’s most senior campaigner trying to take Britain out of the EU, set up Miranda Media in 2007. It handled income from lucrative deals such as presenting on Press TV, an Iranian state channel with a London base.
He was by then well-known on mainstream TV, not least for reality show Celebrity Big Brother, where he pretended to be a cat licking milk off actress Rula Lenska.
Over two months after anti-Semitic and pro-Islamic State graffiti was spray-painted at a Jewish cemetery in central Poland, the offensive inscriptions have yet to be removed, according to a Channel 2 news report Sunday.Swastikas and cocaine - Catholic priest caught redhanded
The graffiti, which vandals painted at the Jewish cemetery in Sochaczew in December, includes the slogans “Holocaust never happened,” “Allah bless Hitler,” “Islamic State was here,” “Islam will dominate,” and “F**k Jews.”
At the time, the local Sochaczew Museum, which cares for the cemetery, appealed to residents of the city for help in removing the paint.
But by February’s end, the graffiti was still in place, and was stumbled upon by a group of touring Jews from the US and Israel.
“We were horrified to find the graffiti messages at the cemetery,” a man identified only as Shmuel recounted.
A video and photographs published by The Sun on Monday have landed a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland in hot water over drug use and a sizable collection of Nazi material.Germany finally pays tribute to first Nazi hunter Fritz Bauer
The priest, Stephen Crossan, had invited friends over to his church residence for a wild late-night party after having been thrown out of another soiree.
Partygoers reported that Crossan drank heavily, and he was filmed snorting lines of cocaine.
Guests were also stunned to discover Crossan’s extensive collection of swastika flags and Nazi memorabilia, including uniforms and a Nazi-era statuette featuring an eagle carrying a swastika.
Crossan also reportedly put on a Nazi cap and performed the Hitler salute.
He was gay, Jewish, and a high-profile German state prosecutor in 1960s West Germany. But it was his dogged determination to bring Hitler’s henchmen to justice that meant Fritz Bauer was ostracised by politicians, feared denunciation as a “criminal homosexual” and received constant death threats.‘Son of Saul’ wins Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film
Bauer, who was found mysteriously drowned in his bathtub in 1968, was Germany’s first Nazi hunter. He brought Adolf Eichmann to trial and subsequent execution in Israel in 1962 and put Nazis who ran Auschwitz in court for the first time in Germany the following year.
Yet like the Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler, the key role Bauer played as one of the handful of Germans who fought the evils of the Nazism remained forgotten for decades after his death. Fifty years on and just as the last ageing Auschwitz guards still alive are going on trial for the first time, Germany’s forgotten first Nazi hunter is being rediscovered and rehabilitated.
An acclaimed feature film about his life, The State Versus Fritz Bauer won an award at this month’s Berlin Film Festival. And last week a televised drama about him was screened on Germany’s ARD television. They follow two other films about the chain-smoking, art-loving Nazi hunter, as well as his first biography.
‘Son of Saul,” the Hungarian Holocaust drama from first-time feature director Laszlo Nemes, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday night’s 88th Academy Awards.Is Germany ready for ‘Son of Saul’s up-close Holocaust experience?
The film, which was partly financed by the Claims Conference, claimed the prize at the annual Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles.
The win is the second straight for a Holocaust film in the category. In 2015, the Polish film “Ida,” about a young soon-to-be nun who learns her parents were Jews killed during the war, took home the best foreign film Oscar.
Set in Auschwitz in 1944, “Son of Saul” tells the story of Saul Auslander, a Jewish inmate forced to escort his fellow prisoners to the gas chambers and help to dispose of their remains. The title role is played by Geza Rohrig, a Hungarian poet and observant Jew who now lives in New York.
The film was heavily favored to win on Sunday, having already claimed the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in May and the Golden Globe for best foreign film in January. On Saturday, it won the prize for best international film at the Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles.
When it opens here March 10, the newly anointed Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, “Son of Saul,” will face a German public that is ambivalent about the subject of the Holocaust, to say the least.The Voice of Israel
Recent surveys show that many Germans have had enough of Holocaust talk: In one poll of 1,000 Germans, some 58 percent said the past should be consigned to history. Yet the new, annotated “Mein Kampf” is flying off the shelves and is currently ranked second on German bestseller lists.
The fact is, Germany will likely never stop grappling with the Holocaust. For this chapter of German history, there is no such thing as the coveted “Schlussstrich,” German for “the last word.”
However, 71 years after the end of World War II, a new approach to opening the conversation is needed, and “Son of Saul” may well be it.
There has never been a UN delegate to equal him. When it was time for Abba Eban to speak, delegates rushed to fill the hall at the General Assembly. It was said that housewives put down their vacuum cleaners when his distinctive voice emanated from radio or television. Henry Kissinger said of him: “I have never encountered anyone who matched his command of the English language. Sentences poured forth in mellifluous constructions complicated enough to test the listener’s intelligence and simultaneously leave him transfixed by the speaker’s virtuosity.” The Washington Post zeroed in on an important aspect of his appeal. “It is probably Abba Eban’s supreme achievement that he always judges the grievance and rights of Israel against the ennobling perspectives of history and conscience. He is a people’s advocate—but his theme is universal justice.” A less elegant but pithy tribute came from then U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles who was overheard saying to U.S. ambassador to the UN Henry Cabot Lodge: “It’s a pity we can’t have him instead of you as our delegate here.”‘Boycotting, Fantastic!’ Says Sacha Baron Cohen as Alter-Ego ‘Nobby’ in Comedic Interview With Israeli Show Host at Premiere of ‘Grimsby’ (VIDEO)
From 1950 to 1959, along with leading Israel’s UN delegation, Eban served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. He went on to serve as Israel’s foreign minister from 1966 to 1974. Given his significance for Israeli politics, it’s surprising that this biography by Asaf Siniver, a professor at the University of Birmingham, is the first serious attempt to chronicle his extraordinary life. The only other biography was published in 1972 by journalist Robert St. John. It, as Siniver rightly observes, “sits more comfortably in the company of unapologetic hagiographies” than scholarship.
Cohen, a Jewish-British comedic actor with unapologetically strong ties to Israel — and famous for his portrayal of characters such as Ali G, Borat and Bruno – gave Alfi a red carpet interview for his Channel 2 program “Hayom Balaila” (“Tonight”), in the guise of his latest alter-ego, Nobby, the hero of the action comedy film.
Wearing a turtle-neck shirt and underwear and carrying a can of beer — accoutrements of the English soccer-lover he plays in the movie — Cohen-as-Nobby asked Alfi where he’s from. When Alfi answered “Israel,” Nobby said, “I’ve heard about your lot, bloody doing this and that, yeh.”
Laughing, Alfi jumped in, saying, “This is Apartheid Week in London. Are you a part of that?”
“Apartheid Week?” Nobby answered, ostensibly contemplating. “Apartheid! It sounds good, actually… Oh, boycotting, fantastic, yeh, as long as they’re Jews, it’s all right.”
When asked by Alfi if he knows any Hebrew, Cohen/Nobby rattled off a phrase that translates as: “How much does three grams of cocaine cost?”
Nobby also asserted that he’s not a racist, “as long as you keep the Jews out.”
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