Wednesday, December 31, 2014

From Ian:

CAMERA's Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2014
1. Hate-Indoctrination and Incitement Ignored
No issue was more glaringly and indefensibly neglected by most of the media than theoften grotesque demonizing of Israel and the Jewish peopleby the Palestinians and the wider Muslim/Arab world. Instead of reporting the hate-indoctrination prominently and continuously for what it is -- a central driving force for violence and fundamental threat to peace -- media outlets such as The New York Times typically ignored the phenomenon orcharacterized it as merely an accusation by Israelis rather than an objective reality.
Few instances of such media malpractice were as blatant as The Times' censoring of Secretary of State John Kerry's strong denunciation of incitement as the cause of the massacre of Jews at prayer in Jerusalem's Har Nof synagogue. Kerry's emphatic statement was first included in an online version of the New York Times story but later entirely excised by the time the printedaccount reached readers.
Lydda 1948: The Dog That Didn’t Bark
In his July 2014 Mosaic essay, Martin Kramer dismantled Ari Shavit’s assertion that “Zionism carrie[d] out a massacre” at Lydda in 1948 – a claim Shavit has spread not only in his book, My Promised Land, but in his New Yorker article, “Lydda, 1948: A City, a Massacre, and the Middle East Today.” Kramer recently presented his findings to an Israeli audience that included Lydda veterans and others intimately familiar with the 1948 war – who expressed surprise and anger at Shavit’s allegation. This post provides still another reason to doubt Shavit’s claim: in 1948, The New York Times covered the April “massacre” at Deir Yassin and the later operation at Lydda – but reported no “massacre” at Lydda. And for the reasons set forth below, it is virtually certain that the Times would have reported it if it had occurred at Lydda.
Currivan and his editors would have considered a Lydda “massacre” the following day “news fit to print” – to put it mildly. But Currivan’s next report on Lydda, datelined July 12 (published on July 13) reported the capture of Lydda and Ramleh “on this all-important front” and noted that Lydda “had offered considerable resistance at first and suffered heavy casualties as a result.” Currivan’s succeeding report, datelined July 13 (published July 14) reported “the complete capture of Lydda,” with the exception of a holdout of Arab fighters at the police station, and noted that Arab civilians had suddenly departed Lydda after its capture. In none of his reports did Currivan report anything remotely approaching a “massacre.”
This is the journalistic equivalent of the non-barking dog: (1) the Lydda operation occurred three months after Deir Yassin, which the Times had covered; (2) Lydda was a significant strategic site; (3) the Times had an experienced war correspondent covering the Lydda operation; and yet (4) the Times reported no “massacre” there. A massacre at Lydda would have been a major development and important news. But there was no bark from the Times.
Lies and Falestine
A while ago I came across a paper written by Jeremy R. Hammond entitled “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel.” In his diatribe he begins his bitter prolonged discourse based on the assumption, purveyed by those ever so sad losers of Nachba fame, that there was an entity, a “country” if you may, called “Palestine”. So allow me to debunk the false claim of a existence of a country whose sole inhabitants were “unjustly” usurped of “their” land known as “Falestine”.
Here are true historical facts.
The word ‘Palestinian’ is never found in Scripture. The term ‘Palestine’ is used four times in the King James Version (Exodus 15:14) Philistia (פְּלָשֶׁת); Isaiah 14:29, 31 (O Philistia) but never as synonymous with either the land of Canaan or the land of Israel. The Hebrew word is פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Plištim and referred to a small region also known as Philistia (Psalms 60:10, 87:4, 108:10), the land of the Pelishtee, or Philistines. It occurs 286 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew bible (of which 152 times in Samuel 1), whereas in the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, the equivalent term phylistiim occurs only 12 times, with the remaining 269 references instead using the term “allophylos” (“of another tribe”).
“In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used. The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land. However, in at least two passages, Israel is used to refer to the Land: (Matt. 2:20-21)

Edgar Davidson: Is anti-Zionism the same as antisemitism? (satire)
The standard defence against any accusation of antisemitism nowadays is to claim that you are an anti-Zionist (generally considered by the main stream media to be a good, liberal, enlightened position) and not an antisemite (generally considered by the main stream media to be a very bad thing). So, following on from my previous posts (the difference between the Nazi boycott of Jews and the Israel boycott movement, and what leftists really believe) I have produced a chart below which obviously confirms that anti-Zionism and antisemitism have absolutely nothing in common.
IsraellyCool: The Strange Case Of The Undead Palestinian Woman
Ma’an News reports on a strange hospital incident involving palestinian Amal Taqata, about whom I posted in the past.
"A Jewish settler assaulted a Palestinian woman being held under armed Israeli guard three weeks ago at a Jerusalem hospital, Ma’an has learned.
Yousif Matya, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said in a statement that Amal Taqatqa, a Palestinian woman from Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem who is being treated from gunshot wounds, was attacked by a Jewish Israeli while sleeping in her bed at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in West Jerusalem."

The most bizarre part of this incident is that according to palestinian and Arab sources, Amal Taqata had previously died.
"A Palestinian young woman Amal Taqatqa suffered serious injuries Monday morning and died later on after being shot by Israeli occupation forces for allegedly trying to stab an IOF soldier.
Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that Israeli forces suddenly opened heavy fire towards a young woman at the entrance to Beit Fujar town near Gush Etzion settlement located to the north of al-Khalil."
Divest This: That Will Be the BDS Year That Was
Like many a political motivation, my return to blogging at Divest This! earlier this year was motivated more by pique than by a sense that things were spinning out of control.
For every couple of years, a specific BDS story (the American Studies Association last year, the Olympia Food Coop a few years back) gets up my nose, perhaps because it involves the boycotters manipulating and harming others for their own lame purposes, a phenomenon I learned about (and have been reacting to) ever since divestment first crossed my path in Somerville, MA.
Unlike Somerville, the BDSers “won” with the ASA, even if their “victory” involves nothing more than insisting that their boycott has meaning when not one American Studies department (nor even the ASA itself) has demonstrated a willingness to actually implement or enforce it.
How campus speech codes silence the pro-Israel community
The infamous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns and “apartheid week” displays on college campuses are not the only threat to Jewish students. A much greater threat looms: the inability for students to publicly defend their beliefs. While universities claim to be havens of open debate and intellectual curiosity, they are in reality black holes of political correctness. On campus, only certain ideas are worthy of consideration and Zionism is definitely not one of them. This culture doesn’t just threaten members of the Jewish community, who are terrified to challenge those who accuse Israel of the most heinous crimes. Rather, it threatens all of us who value free speech and its ability to encourage criticism, debate, and original thought on college campuses.
While speech codes are thought to be a thing of the 90s, the truth is that college students today are facing the most serious threats to their civil liberties. From “trigger warnings” to “free speech zones,” universities are slowly training students to become hypersensitive and incapable of deviating from ideologies that are in vogue.
U. of Illinois: Donors Didn’t Derail Salaita Hiring
Having spent considerable time interviewing the key players and reviewing reams of documents pertaining to the decision to refuse a tenure track position to Steven Salaita, the academic better known now for his tweets than for his scholarship, the faculty Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign released its report last week, just a moment before Christmas.
As one might expect from the professoriate these days, the report contains no broad strokes of moral clarity and condemnation, which, to the chorus of Salaita’s supporters, itself qualifies as some sort of victory. It’s not: not only does the committee stop short of calling for Salaita’s restoration, it also cites “legitimate concerns” about whether Salaita’s anti-Israel expressions on social media make him ill-equipped to stand before a classroom.
Such small illuminations are all good and well, but they add up to little more than footnotes to the Salaita story. One of the report’s other points, however, looms much larger. It is this: “On July 21,” reads the report, “the Chancellor began receiving emails protesting the appointment of Dr. Salaita because of his tweets. Many of these emails have been made public as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request, and the fact that some came from donors has been widely reported. The Chancellor has stated that donors in no way influenced her actions with regard to Dr. Salaita. This investigation found no evidence that they did.” This assertion is seconded in the report by James Montgomery, a prominent civil rights attorney and a university trustee who had cast the sole vote in support of hiring Salaita.
Independent’s list of most read articles in 2014 features anti-Jewish columnist
In studying and posting about UK media coverage of the summer war between Israel and Hamas, we concluded that the Independent arguably surpassed the Guardian in the level of malice and vitriol directed towards Israel and its ‘Zionist’ supporters in articles and op-eds.
Over a the course of a few days in mid-July, the Indy published an article by Adam Withnall seemingly characterizing a few dozen Sderot residents applauding attacks on Hamas targets as an act of almost unparalleled human cruelty; one op-ed by Robert Fisk which actually blamed the Western media for being too soft on Israeli “blood-letting”, and another op-ed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown which accused Israel of engaging in a policy of ethnic cleansing.
But, perhaps the most egregious example of unrestrained anti-Zionist malice during that period was provided by Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed on July 11th titled ‘Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport‘, which suggested that the views towards Palestinians by some Israeli leaders were arguably on part with the genocidal rhetoric espoused by the Nazis.
Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred NGO contributors in 2014
So which NGOs were the most quoted and promoted in BBC Israel-related content in 2014? Among the local NGOs contributing to BBC produced material either in the form of quotes or by means of inadequately identified interviewees, the organization appearing most was B’Tselem, followed by the PCHR. This does not however include the indirect amplification of the agendas of those two organisations, along with Al Mezan, by means of the BBC’s repeated promotion of the Gaza Strip casualty figures for which they were primary sources.
Among the foreign NGOs promoted, quoted and amplified in BBC Israel-related content during 2014, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign received the most exposure – mainly via coverage of its summer anti-Israel demonstrations in the UK and its involvement in the campaign against SodaStream - followed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
BBC’s end of year ‘In Pictures’ feature continues to promote unverified Gaza casualty stats
As we see, over four months since the end of the conflict and despite the existence of more up to date information showing that the civilian/combatant casualty ratio cited above is most likely inflated, the BBC has made no effort to update the information it provides to audiences and continues to quote the UN figures which were problematic from the onset. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that the BBC has independently verified the statistics it promotes in the weeks since the ceasefire came into effect.
The footnote added belatedly to the BBC article on casualty figures which was revised due to political pressure stated:
“We expect to return to this subject at a later date.”
That has not happened and the BBC’s continued blind promotion of unverified statistics is clearly not only an issue in terms of accuracy but, as time goes on and the BBC continues to stubbornly and inexplicably ignore later work done on this topic, it also obviously becomes a growing issue of impartiality.
UNbiased BBC
Surely this fails every test for neutrality? The ‘brave’ child with the Palestinian flag ‘confronts’ armed Israeli soldiers. Tugs at your heartstrings.
Some might call that child abuse. I would call it blatant propaganda against Israel. In reality the child was in no danger unless, of course, someone off camera decides to up the ante and start a riot. Even then, I would expect an IDF soldier to protect the child.
John Cantlie: British journalist 'writes article' in latest issue of Isis' Dabiq magazine
The piece, entitled ‘Meltdown’, appears as the final article in the sixth issue of the group’s Dabiq propaganda magazine, and carries his name on the byline.
It is unclear whether the experienced journalist wrote the piece himself, was put under duress, or if his name was simply added to someone else’s work.
The relatively informal article begins by predicting the collapse of the US dollar, and goes on to argue for the benefits of using gold as currency.
It goes on to argue that Isis's decision to mint its own currency in its occupied areas in Iraq and Syria, which it calls the Islamic State, a "smart move".
JPost Editorial: Engaging Iran
Obama said the Iranians should take advantage of the opportunity to lift international sanctions, “because if they do, there’s incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of Iran and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules – and that would be good for everybody.”
For those of us with the mindset of a liberal democrat, Obama’s argument makes perfect sense. But totalitarian regimes work according to different rules. While leaders of liberal democracies use their charisma and the power of their arguments to garner support and build consensus, the dictator’s skills are different. Ruthlessness and a willingness to sacrifice any person, value or cause for the sake of maintaining control characterize the autocrat. Identifying and exploiting an opponent’s weaknesses are essential for survival.
Heads of state hailing from liberal democracies tend to project their own values onto dictators, convinced that, like themselves, dictators are ultimately governed by basic moral principles and can be reasoned with.
In contrast, totalitarian regimes see an attempt to compromise, to find a middle ground, as weakness that they are quick to exploit. Dictators must be stopped by force, history has shown.
IRGC Weekly To Saudis: 'Iran Has Many Options For Harming Saudi Arabia
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have been extremely tense in recent years, are now deteriorating further as oil prices continue their downward trend. Iran is accusing Saudi Arabia of waging an oil war against it with the aim of damaging the Iranian economy – which is almost entirely dependent on oil revenues. Additionally, in recent days, Iranian spokesmen, most of them affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have issued threats against Saudi Arabia.
On December 10, Iranian President Hassan Rohani called the decline in global oil prices the result of political planning by countries in the region, hinting at Saudi Arabia, and stressed that the Iranian people would not forget this "betrayal" and would "respond to it." Earlier, on December 21, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said, while on a visit to Syria: "This time, we will not forget which countries schemed to lower the price of oil." On December 15, the IRGC weekly Sobh-e Sadeq threatened that Iran would use "all the means at its disposal against Saudi Arabia," and on December 27, Amir Moussavi, a former IRGC diplomat who today directs the Strategic Studies and International Relations Institute, said, "Saudi Arabia's move is a suicidal step in the struggle against Iran in the region... So far, Tehran has held back, and has acted in moderation, but it seems that this time, this playing with fire is a type of suicide... Saudi Arabia is certain that Iran will not respond easily, but it seems that this time the situation is different, and if necessary Saudi Arabia's economic interests in the region and in the world will be harmed."
U.S. names more Iran targets for sanctions
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on nine new targets, saying the entities and people targeted had supported Iran's efforts to avoid sanctions and backed the government's human rights abuses, including censorship.
U.S. Treasury Department officials said in a statement the latest move was part of an effort to enforce existing sanctions while the United States and other countries continue to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.
"Although we do not support the imposition of any new nuclear-related sanctions while negotiations are ongoing ... we have made clear, by word and deed, that we will continue to enforce our existing sanctions," Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, said in a statement.
The newly named targets include five people and one entity for their role in helping the Iranian government buy or acquire U.S. currency, according to the department.
Iran Hangs Seven on Christmas
The Iranian regime hanged seven citizens on Christmas morning and at least 12 others in the days before and after the holiday, according to Iranian dissidents monitoring the human rights situation.
Seven prisoners being held in Iran’s Abdelebad prison were hanged “at dawn on Christmas day,” according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group.
The latest round of state-sanctioned killings—which have hit an all time high in the past year—came just days after President Barack Obama praised Iran in an interview at the White House and said that it could be a “successful” member of the international community.
Erdogan Boasts That Turkey has “World’s Freest Press” As Teen Faces Trial for Insulting Him
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan boasted that his nation has the “world’s freest press” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Saturday.
“Nowhere in the world is the press freer than it is in Turkey. I’m very sure of myself when I say this,” he said in a televised speech to a conference in Ankara.
“The press is so free in Turkey that one can make insults, slander, defamation, racism and commit hate crimes that are not tolerated even in democratic countries,” he said.
“I’ve personally experienced this, so has my family,” he added.
Turkey: America's unacknowledged problem
Turkey is a NATO ally, and U.S. President Barack Obama has called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan his best friend. But Erdogan-led Turkey does not ‎behave as an ally or a friend of the U.S. This is not a new development.‎
Erdogan and his Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), have ruled Turkey since 2002. Erdogan's ‎Turkey has gradually distanced itself from the West, adopting domestic and foreign ‎policies fueled by Ottoman and Islamist impulses. ‎
Turkey has been on the road to an authoritarian regime for several years. Infringements ‎on human rights have gradually increased. In truth, Turkey has never had a political ‎system with checks and balances able to constrain attempts to consolidate power ‎around one politician. In recent years, Erdogan has weakened further the few ‎constitutional constraints against "Putinization" of the Turkish political system. ‎
European Parliament: More words replace an anti-Semitism task force
The European Parliament recently voted down the proposed establishment of a special task force on anti-Semitism.
This occurred in spite of the unprecedented levels of anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 occurring within many European countries. The Parliament’s decision means that the issue of a special task force dealing with anti-Semitism can only be raised again in 2019, after the next parliamentary elections.
It is important to document what is said by Jewish leaders and by some Jews in the public eye about the current anti-Semitism in their countries.
When the parliamentarians will meet five years hence, they will have this material at their disposal.
There will be little to analyze because the quotes speak for themselves.
UK soccer boss banned for jabs at Jews and Chinese
The English Football Association on Wednesday banned Wigan chairman Dave Whelan from all football-related activities for six weeks over offensive comments about Jews and Chinese people.
The 78-year-old Whelan, who accepted a charge of racially aggravated misconduct, was also fined 50,000 pounds ($78,000), warned about his future conduct and ordered to undertake a mandatory education course.
Whelan has seven days to accept or appeal against the sanction, which would be suspended until after the outcome of an appeal process. The ban would begin immediately if he decides to accept the punishment.
French Anti-Semitic Comedian Dieudonné Embroiled in Potentially Fatal Political Row
Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, the anti-Semitic French provocateur who describes himself as a comedian, has found himself on the receiving end of severe criticism from former supporters who resent his ties to Alain Soral, a white French fascist with whom he founded a new political party, Réconciliation Nationale, last month.
“Several black supporters of Dieudonné, including former bodyguards, have turned against him, complaining of his increasingly close connections with white, allegedly racist, groups in France and what they claim is his supposed obsession with personal enrichment,” London’s Independent newspaper reported.
At the heart of the row is a sordid email exchange between Soral – whose latest book, Understanding Empire, recycles the myth of global Jewish control – and a Guinean model named Binti Bangoura.
Report: U.K. Anti-Semitic Acts at 30-Year High
Anti-Semitic incidents in Britain occurred at a higher rate in 2014 than during any year in the past three decades, according to a British watchdog organization. The Telegraph reports that the Community Security Trust will release their 2014 figures—which will include reported violent assaults, verbal abuse, and online incidents—in February 2015, with the total number of reported incidents projected to be more than 1,000.
According to the data, there were 302 reported anti-Semitic incidents in July alone—a more than 400 percent increase from the previous July—as tensions fueled by the Israeli operation in Gaza flared across Europe and many anti-Israel protests quickly turned anti-Semitic.
Among Australian Jewry, None So Blind As Those Who Won't See
I am hardly the only Australian Zionist concerned that Jews are giving aid and comfort to those who hate Israel, and that Jews are helping to muzzle free debate on an ideology that is widely regarded as misogynistic, antisemitic, and violent, and at odds with Western democracy, let alone that Jews are abetting the concept of "Islamophobia".
The latter is, as Australian Jew Michael Burd put it in the Australian Jewish News (26 December) "an over-used term ... meant to shut down all debate and leave many an innocent person feeling like a racist".
This post by the Online Hate Prevention Institute has received "Likes" on Facebook by people who, frankly, should know better.
The attitude seen represents the thin end of a wedge which might well lead Australian Jewish leadership organisations to ban the likes of Dr Mordechai Kedar from addressing communal audiences, as the British Board of Deputies recently did.
Immigration to Israel hits 10-year high with record French influx
Jewish immigration to Israel hit a ten-year high in 2014, with over 26,500 people making aliyah over the course of the year, the Jewish Agency said Wednesday.
According to statistics released by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ministry, Israel saw a 32% rise in immigration compared to 2013, and the highest immigration rate since 2002, when 33,539 made aliyah.
For the first time since the founding of the state, France topped the list of countries from which immigrants moved to Israel this year, with over a quarter — about 7,000 people — making the leap. It was the largest single-year movement of French Jews to Israel since the founding of the state. Half that many moved to Israel in 2013.
“We expect that some 10,000 new immigrants will come from France alone next year, and we will surpass 30,000 immigrants from around the world – and even more,” Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said in a statement.
Exclusive: IDF on cusp of inaugurating robust Internet radio communication system
The IDF will activate a Radio over Internet Protocol communications network in the coming days, a senior military officer told The Jerusalem Post this week.
The RoIP network was designed and created by the C4i Branch’s Maof Unit, which has some 120 military engineers and 80 supporting officers.
The communications system would allow military headquarters in regional commands, and the General Staff, to speak with field units via a secure, robust and adaptable system, and is part of a drive to integrate all of the IDF’s branches. RoIP systems are generally faster to repair and restore in the case of a problems over a wide area.
“Radio over IP was invented right here, in our premises,” the senior officer said. “We believe that to win wars, we still have to talk to each other, despite the developing digital communication networks.”
Thousands of years of history unveiled at Tower of David’s Kishle Prison
The Kishle still has the feeling of a dank prison. Birds nest in the tiny windows that let in slants of light at the top. A stairway descends to the current level of excavations, past crusader-era ruins.
“From here we see the retaining walls and sewage system, and this is just the tail of the elephant,” explains Re’em. The first-century Jewish general turned historian, Josephus Flavius, mentioned a palace at this location.
“He spoke of a lot of water; baths, ritual baths, pools. Herod loved water and this is proof,” says the archeologist pointing to the drainage system that goes under the Old City walls and ends at Sultan’s Pool. Re’em, energetic and constantly on the move during the tour, is fluent in all the historical geography, shifting from the story of the High Priest Annas to the tale of how Jesus was brought to the palace of Herod, according to the New Testament.
Re’em envisions tourists being greeted one day by holograms in which they will see virtually the different walls from the various periods. “In this beautiful place we can see all the archeological and historical sequence of the history of Jerusalem.”
Israel economy grows 2.6 percent in 2014, seen faster in 2015
Israel's economy grew an estimated 2.6 percent in 2014, its slowest pace in five years, as a summer war dragged, but is expected to pick up pace next year.
Wednesday's preliminary estimate was nevertheless higher than a prior prediction of 2.2 percent.
Despite the July-August conflict with Palestinian militants in Gaza, growth beat that of most other Western countries, with the OECD average at 1.8 percent. Israel's economy produced a record 1.1 trillion shekels (182 billion pounds) in 2014.
"Without the war, GDP would have been much higher," Oz Shimony, senior director of the statistics bureau's macroeconomics department, told Reuters after a news conference.
Jacques Wagner, pro-Zionist activist, named Brazil's defense minister
Born in Rio de Janeiro to Jewish immigrants from Poland, Wagner, a former activist with the Zionist Habonim Dror movement, was elected governor in 2007. He had previously served as minister of labor under former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
In addition to Wagner, Floriano Pesaro, a leader of Sao Paulo’s Jewish community, was elected to the federal parliament in October. A member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, Pesaro published a book in September entitled, “My Path with Judaism.”
As an alderman in the Sao Paulo city council, Pesaro was among the initiators of legislation which resulted in the incorporated of International Holocaust Memorial Day as one of the city’s official commemorative dates, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
A Jewish Ghetto Worth Saving
Something like Venice no one can do. Only God. The greatest achievement for mankind and the one that approaches it most to God, since it cannot create such wonders, is to preserve those that exist.
—French philosopher Simone Weil (Venise Sauvée 1955)
On Nov. 20, the Venetian Heritage Council, an international philanthropy founded by the fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, pledged $12 million to restore the Venice Jewish ghetto, to salvage its crumbling heritage and turn it into a rich Jewish cultural center in time for its 500th anniversary in 2016. The project will include the renovation of what’s now a small, disorganized museum, which is no testament to the rich Jewish culture that has inhabited the Venetian island for half a century, and the restoration to glory of the ghetto’s five synagogues, once bustling with life.
Five best Jewish moments in movies of 2014
1 – ScarJo Uses Her Noggin
2014 was the year of Scarlett Johansson. Not only did her SodaStream ad bubble up all over the Internet, she appeared in four terrific movies. (Five, if you want to count “Her” which didn’t come out until late December 2013.)
She was the supportive hostess/girlfriend in “Chef” and was back once more to beat up crypto-Nazi bad guys in “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” In the hallucinatory sci-fi mind-trip “Under the Skin,” which you absolutely have to see, she played a sexually voracious space alien leading men to their blissful doom. But let’s award her the top prize this year for her part in the dazzlingly designed and cheerfully idiotic action picture “Lucy.”
You see, in “Lucy,” ScarJo’s superpowers come when she’s “using her mind.” You can even track it on the screen. At 10% of her brain, she’s just a quick-witted damsel, but by 100% she’s transcending space and time and collapsing her consciousness (which fuses with all potential thought!) into a singularity.

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