Tuesday, April 16, 2019

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Jewish critics of Israel have a problem with Israelis, not with Netanyahu
The issue on which they are prepared to discard the ties between Israel and American Jews is one that is hardly worth such a split. Netanyahu made it clear that he’s not talking about annexation of the West Bank, but applying Israeli law to settlements where, it must be pointed out, Israeli law already is applied as a general practice. Doing so wouldn’t prevent a two-state solution were the Palestinians ever inclined to accept one, which Jacobs and his friends know very well they have repeatedly rejected.

What is really at stake here is nothing more than the anger of American Jews who are still shocked that Israelis don’t value their advice. The clear majority of Israelis, including many who voted for Blue and White because of disgust with Netanyahu’s legal problems and because Gantz offered no substantive disagreements with the prime minister on security issues, have rejected the blind belief of Jacobs and his friends in withdrawal from the West Bank as an end in and of itself.

We know Jacobs and ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt oppose Netanyahu and Trump. But it’s time to acknowledge that their real beef is with the Israeli people, who have repeatedly rejected their opinions by margins of landslide proportions. Most Israelis believe that endangering their security by creating a hostile sovereign power in Judea and Samaria—the way Ariel Sharon did in Gaza with his 2005 withdrawal—would be madness.

Writers like former Forward editor Jane Eisner and Peter Beinart, who are open about rejecting the political will of Israeli’s people and in abandoning the notion of Israel’s centrality (Eisner) or working to subjugate Israel to the will of foreign powers who wish to impose a solution on it (Beinart), are more honest than Jacobs and Greenblatt about their goals.

Regardless of their own opinions about Netanyahu or the conflict, it’s likely that many Reform and Conservative Jews, as well as donors to ADL, aren’t comfortable with having these organizations express such contempt for the people of Israel or for them to attempt to sabotage the U.S.-Israel relationship. Nor should they be. These unelected leaders of American Jewry who have the nerve to lecture the people of Israel about Jewish values and morals deserve to be ignored.
Nikki Haley interviewed by Hillel Neuer, King David Gala, Montreal, April 10, 2019.

Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental: the boy from Belsen brings urgent lessons to Belfast…
Tomi’s story informs that every German family has a skeleton in their cupboard from that period. This is not to suggest that most Germans have not exorcised old ghosts and recognise uncomfortable truths. They have, as the film shows. Rather, for some it is taboo. Nazis are still admired, and anti-Semitism has not gone away.

In one clip, Tomi is in the room the Wannsee conference took place. This is where Hitler and his henchmen conceived the final solution. In typical German efficiency, everything was catalogued.

Now a museum, on the wall a list itemising the number of Jews across Europe to be exterminated, one of them being Tomi. The plan included 4,000 Jews in Ireland.

Factor in, others deemed unfit to be citizens by nationalist extremists and categorised with different coloured stars other than yellow, and the number was certain to rise.

I raised the Irish aspect with Tomi and Gerry. In Northern Ireland, unionist understanding of the Republic’s neutral role in World War II is routinely coloured. Constantly cited is De Valera offering condolences to Germany on Hitler’s death.

It may not have been Dev’s greatest moment but nor is it representative of a nation that interned IRA suspects throughout the war and executed those who collaborated with the Nazis.

My point here is this. Had Hitler had his way, the people to administer the Zyklon B in Ireland were the IRA, a sinister organisation based on whispers. Kids like Tomi Reichental would have been rounded up by men like Sean Russell, the IRA chief of staff who died on a Nazi submarine.

For the Sinn Fein family, Russell is an Irish patriot or victim, but never a perpetrator. No, never that. Each year they pay homage to his statue in Dublin. If Russell was still alive, Tomi would ask him, are you sorry for what you did?

David French: To Defend Ilhan Omar, Democrats Use Identity Politics as a Shield
In reality, Democrats are following a classic identity-politics playbook, using identity as both sword and shield. When the moment suits, then Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are the powerful voices of a new generation — in Ocasio-Cortez’s case, powerful enough to get Democratic presidential front-runners to immediately and eagerly sign on to her “Green New Deal.” Omar and her allies were powerful enough to get the Democrats to water down their condemnation of her blatant anti-Semitism. And make no mistake, their identity is part of their power. The fact that Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are progressive women of color has elevated their profile immensely.

But then when the moment changes, the meaning of their identity changes. When Republicans attack, there is indignation. How dare you attack a woman of color. How dare you obsess over a mere House freshman. Your attacks are proof of your racism. The powerful are attacking the powerless.

No one doubts that there are racists in the Republican coalition, but it’s absurd to attribute GOP attacks against Omar exclusively or primarily to racism — especially when she made expressly racist statements and when she was dismissive of 9/11. Do the Democrats believe Republicans wouldn’t denounce a white Democratic anti-Semite or a white man who made the same comments about 9/11 — especially if that white man was being hailed as a Democratic power player?

The Democrats and media cannot have it both ways. They cannot work diligently to elevate Omar’s voice and then rule out of bounds attacks against the person they’ve elevated — especially when her own words are often hateful and cruel.

There are aspects of both Omar’s and Ocasio-Cortez’s stories that are undeniably inspirational — and represent a large part of their appeal. Omar is a former refugee, an immigrant who became a congresswoman. Ocasio-Cortez has enjoyed one of the most meteoric rises in modern politics, from bartender to power broker. But powerful people are responsible for their words and ideas, and when Omar goes too far, it is not racist — nor is it incitement — to call her to account.
David Frum: Democrats Are Falling Into the Ilhan Omar Trap
Many of President Donald Trump’s tweets backfire, but not his tweet attack on U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar. That one tweet succeeded to perfection. Trump wishes to make Omar the face of the Democratic Party heading into the 2020 elections—and now he has provoked Democrats to comply.

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have offered full-throated endorsements of Omar. “Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end,” Sanders tweeted. Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg have expressed themselves more circumspectly, but have still aligned themselves with her in ways not easy to undo. “We are stronger than this president’s hatred and Islamophobia. Do not let him drive us apart or make us afraid,” O’Rourke tweeted. Of the 2020 hopefuls, only Amy Klobuchar added any caveat to her statement about Omar. (“You can disagree with her words—as I have done before—but this video is wrong.”) Joe Biden and Cory Booker have thus far refrained from comment.

Having promised not to “let him drive us apart” from Omar, Democrats are now stuck with responsibility for the reckless things the representative from Minnesota says, not only about Jews, but about other issues, too. Omar has already served notice that she does not intend to behave more circumspectly in the future. In a Friday-night interview, Stephen Colbert asked Omar whether she would heed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advice to back-bench it for a while. Omar answered, “I think Nancy knows this very well. Women have been told to go slow and not be seen and not be heard for many years. She wouldn’t have made it to where she is if she did. And it’s certainly the case for minority women … We are not there to be quiet. We are not there to be invisible. We are there to follow the lead of people like Congressman John Lewis and make good trouble.”

The Democrats are on notice. More remarks will be coming.

Sanders Defends Omar's Anti-Semitism
Sanders defended Omar's remarks by attacking Trump in a tweet, writing: "Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end."

So, in Sanders' mind, criticizing Omar for the exact words that she said qualifies as "racism," "hate," "disgusting," and "dangerous," while Omar's anti-Semitic remarks do not qualify as anti-Semitic.

Sanders claim that Omar was just being "critical of a right-wing government in Israel" is a lie.

Omar repeatedly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and tropes; has refused to deny that she is an anti-Semite; accused pro-Israel groups of paying off American politicians to have dual loyalties to Israel; accused her Jewish colleagues of plotting to take her down by accusing her of anti-Semitism; suggested Israel does not have the right to exist as a Jewish state; and admitted to supporting anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel.
Jewish Democrats Slam Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Over Comment That Cutting US Aid to Israel Should Be ‘On the Table’
Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) asserted in a media interview over the weekend that cutting military and economic aid to Israel should be “on the table.”

“I think it is certainly on the table. I think it’s something that can be discussed,” the prominent progressiver lawmaker said on Yahoo’s “Skullduggery” podcast on Sunday.

Ocasio-Cortez said that newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex territory in the West Bank should be opposed by the US government. She also criticized Netanyahu as a “Trump-like figure.”

“I think these are part of conversations we are having in our caucus, but I think what we are really seeing is an ascent of authoritarianism across the world,” she said.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) on Monday strongly criticized Ocasio-Cortez for her comments.

“We are pleased Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recognizes she is NOT a leader on Israel in Congress,” the group said in a statement. “We recommend she engage with Dem leaders Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, & Ted Deutch before contemplating the future of US military aid to Israel.”

The JDCA emphasized US-Israel ties “must supersede politics.”

Omar rakes in the ‘Benjamins’ even amid cries of antisemitism
Rep. Ilhan Omar, a freshman democrat widely known for her controversial statements, raised $832,000 in the first quarter, according to her Federal Election Commission report filed on Monday, Politco reported.

Omar’s funds came from mostly small donations. Approximately half of her donations (USD $415,000), came from donations under USD $200. Most of her funds were donated online (USD $631,000).

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also often under scrutiny for antisemitism, gave Omar $2,000 on March 28, and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (S.C.) gave her $1,000 on March 29.

Clyburn came to Omar’s defense when other democrats wanted to form legislation against Omar and her alleged antisemitic remarks, according to the report.

Later on, the legislation broadened and targeted all hate speech in its various forms, instead of singling out Omar.

As of March, Omar’s campaign spent $241,000 and had $607,000 in cash on hand. Omar was one of the top democratic fundraisers this quarter.
The UK Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic
Labour is Europe’s largest socialist party by membership. What makes it unique among these parties is that so much of its anti-Semitism targets Jews and not only Israel.

It is not difficult to find anti-Israelism among leading figures in a variety of other European socialist or social democratic parties. When Sigmar Gabriel was leader of the German SPD and the country’s foreign minister, he accused Israel of apartheid. It took him months to apologize.

The Norwegian Labour Party leader and former Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called Israel an “apartheid state” after the nation-state law was passed in the Israeli Knesset. Earlier, he wrote a back-cover comment praising a book by two Norwegian Hamas supporters who claimed that Israel entered Gaza in a military campaign to kill women and children.

Margot Wallström, the Social Democrat Swedish foreign minister, demanded an international investigation into the killing of suicide bombers by Israel while not asking the same of any other country. She said, “It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability.”

Many more similar examples can be added from other European socialists. Yet in none of the other socialist parties do we find major anti-Semitism targeting local Jews.
The Socialist International should suspend UK Labour Party
The Socialist International (SI) is the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties. It currently brings together 147 political parties and organizations from all continents. Twenty eight member parties are in government. The UK Labour Party is an observer. SI’s main message is that it is in favor of progressive politics for a fairer world.

For more than three years much information about antisemitism in Labour has been published worldwide. The party is led by Jeremy Corbyn, who has empathy for terrorists, having called genocidal murderers his “brothers” and “friends.” The organization’s leaders and officials would have no credibility if they claim ignorance about the widespread antisemitism in Labour. The more so as the SI offices are in London.

Alan Johnson is a former university professor of democratic theory and practice, who is himself a member of Labour. He recently published a 135-page report that concludes the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic. Its title indicates this: “Institutionally Antisemitic Contemporary Left Antisemitism and the Crisis in the British Labour Party.”

Johnson’s main arguments about why antisemitism in Labour is institutional are damning for the party. The many cases he mentions to substantiate his claims include examples of the Labour Party failing to safeguard its Jewish members. It also fails to understand and empathize with the Jewish experience. Labour does not effectively deal with antisemitism, but rather makes overly tolerant decisions in regard to individual cases. The party also fails to educate members about antisemitism. In addition, Johnson states that Labour has not ended the party’s culture of antisemitism-denial and victim-blaming.
Watch: Richard Burgon caught out saying ‘Zionism is the enemy of peace’
In 2016, Labour’s shadow justice secretary and Corbyn ally Richard Burgon was asked a rather simple question by Andrew Neil when he appeared on the Daily Politics. The show took place shortly after allegations were made in the Daily Mail that the MP has said ‘Zionism is the enemy of peace’. As you would expect, in the midst of Labour’s ongoing issues with the Jewish community, Burgon was therefore given the opportunity to correct the record by Neil, and asked if the reported remarks were correct.

In response, Burgon shrugged off the accusations, replying at least three times when pressed that he ‘didn’t say that’, ‘didn’t make those comments’ and ‘would not have said that.’

Unfortunately for Burgon, though, it appears that he has been caught saying on camera saying exactly that. The freelance journalist, Iggy Ostanin, uncovered video footage today of Burgon speaking at an event in 2014. In the video, Burgon is seen proclaiming with enthusiasm that:

‘the enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists, and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people…’

Texas ban on companies that boycott Israel drives state to divest $72M
Texas state agencies are beginning to divest nearly $72 million worth of stock in a company said to be boycotting Israel — the first financial move after a year-old law that bars Texas agencies from investing in such companies.

Two major state pension funds — the Employees Retirement System of Texas and Texas Permanent School Fund —own $68 million and about $4 million, respectively, worth of stock in DNB ASA, a Norwegian financial services company, officials said, though the company has denied it boycotts Israel.

The 2017 law was touted by Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, as a way to show solidarity with the country, and prohibits state agencies from investing in companies that boycott Israel, or giving them government contracts. With bipartisan support, it passed unanimously in the House and with little opposition in the Senate.

Texas is one of more than two dozen states to pass such a law in response to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel. Launched in 2005 by Palestinian groups, the initiative aims to use economic pressure to push the country to put an end to settlement in Palestinian territories, among other goals.

The legislation made national headlines this year after Airbnb announced it was pulling rental listings from the West Bank, territory whose ownership is disputed by Palestinians, leading the Texas Comptroller’s office to blacklist the company.

Airbnb announced Tuesday it would reverse that decision. The Comptroller’s office said it’s considering lifting the ban on the vacation rental company.
Why Has Explicit Anti-Semitism At A UNC/Duke Conference About Gaza Been Ignored By The Media?
A few weeks ago there was a major conference, Conflict Over Gaza, sponsored by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies and UNC Global. One of the presenters at this high-profile conference was the Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar. He told the audience that he wanted to sing them a song, but that he needed their help singing it, because “I cannot be anti-Semitic alone.” Just to make sure his intentions were clear; he told the audience not to think of Rihanna. Instead, while singing, they should “think of Mel Gibson,” the notoriously anti-Semitic actor who claimed that, “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” The audience sang along and laughed.

This should have been a hard story to miss. The performance was captured on video and reported by the local ABC News affiliate. The UNC Interim Chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz, issued a condemnation: “A performance during a recent conference held on our campus contained disturbing and hateful language. Like many members of our community, I am heartbroken and deeply offended that this performance happened. I stand steadfast against Anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms. The Carolina spirit is not about hateful language that divides us, but about civil discourse that advances ideas and knowledge. We must continue to aspire together to that ideal.” Duke University also denounced the statement.

So, at a high-profile academic conference co-sponsored by two major universities, a speaker indulged in explicit anti-Semitism, with the audience participating, that was captured on video, leading both universities to publicly condemn the performance. Yet, this drew no mention from any of the major news outlets. The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and almost every other major media outlet simply ignored it.
Prof. Kontorovich on airbnb reversing it's decision
Following Airbnb's decision to reverse delisting of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, head of International law department at Kohelet Policy Forum was interviewed for Kan English news

Pittsburgh paper awarded Pulitzer for synagogue massacre coverage
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize Monday in breaking news reporting for its coverage of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre last October.

Eleven people were shot and killed by a gunman during the rampage, which came as congregants at the synagogue complex in Pittsburgh were gathering for Shabbat morning services.

The prize, the most prestigious in journalism, was awarded to the daily’s entire reporting staff.

The coverage included a front-page headline containing the first four words of the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer in Hebrew letters.

David Shribner, the Post-Gazette’s executive editor, explained the excerpt “from a 10th century prayer might be the appropriate gesture — of respect, of condolence — for a 21st century audience mourning its dead, whether family, friend, congregant, neighbor or, simply, Pittsburgher.”
How many falsehoods did BBC ‘Dateline London’ viewers hear in 13 minutes?
Times journalist Iain Martin claimed that Netanyahu’s re-election is a “tragedy” and no less than a “potential geo-strategic catastrophe”.

Italian filmmaker and journalist Annalisa Piras claimed that:

Israel has a “prime minister who’s going to be indicted in the next few months” – no: Netanyahu may be indicted in the next few months but that decision has not yet been made because it depends on hearings that have yet to take place.

The Oslo peace accord “would create a two-state solution” – the Oslo Accords in fact do not mention the two-state solution.

Programme presenter Carrie Gracie did very little indeed to relieve viewers of the inaccurate impressions created by those statements and others from members of her panel. It is of course worth remembering that – in relation to the same programme – the BBC has in the past claimed that the promotion of such unchallenged falsehoods is part of “a legitimate debate”.
Swastikas in Buena Vista Park
Welcome to San Francisco. City of inclusion. Diversity. And tolerance.

San Franciscans living near Buena Vista Park in the Height-Ashbury neighborhood were greeted this morning by over a dozen swastikas painted on the pedestrian walkway surrounding the park.

Park officials quickly painted over the swastikas and are reviewing surveillance tapes in an effort to identify the responsible party.
US Holocaust museum gives its highest honor to Syria rescue volunteers
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is giving its highest honor to the Syria Civil Defense, a volunteer group that operates in rebel-controlled areas in Syria and Turkey.

The group, also known as the White Helmets, was founded in 2014 during the Syrian Civil War and provides aid and rescue to those affected by bombings in the country. Western countries view it as a humanitarian organization, but Russia, which supports Bashar Assad’s government, has described the group as a “threat.”

The group’s rescue efforts have demonstrated that Syria and its Russia-backed forces have targeted schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities. Both Moscow and Damascus have dismissed this, often feebly, as propaganda.

The museum, which is the country’s official Holocaust memorial and is located in Washington, DC, announced on Monday that it was giving the 2019 Elie Wiesel Award to two recipients: the Syria Civil Defense and Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, a couple known for their investigation into Nazi war criminals.
Remains of Nazi victims studied by German doctor to receive burial
The remains of 300 people killed by the Nazis and used by a German doctor for research will be buried in Berlin next month.

The late Hermann Stieve kept tissue samples of the mostly female victims after he dissected their bodies for his research at the University of Berlin.

He sometimes received the bodies of resistance fighters minutes after they were killed at the Berlin-Ploetzensee prison, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday.

The samples were found in small black boxes and some were labeled with the name of the victim, according to the newspaper.
Undated photograph of German physician and researcher Hermann Stieve. (CC BY-SA Wikimedia commons)

Stieve was researching menstruation and the effects of stress on the reproductive system.

Stieve died of a stroke in 1952.

The samples were discovered by his heirs and turned over to Berlin’s Charité university hospital.

They will be buried on May 13.
Bucharest deputy mayor wants to erect statue of WWII fascist leader
Bucharest Deputy Mayor Aurelian Badulescu has said he intends to place a bust of Romanian dictator, war criminal and Nazi collaborator Marshal Ion Antonescu in a public place in the Romanian capital.

His comments come following a decision in February by the General Council of Bucharest, the municipal authority, to change the designated spot for a Holocaust museum from a place in the heart of Bucharest to a more remote location within the city.

Maximilian Marco Katz, who was born and lives in Romania and heads an organization that combats antisemitism in Romania, issued a statement decrying the decision, and subsequently received a withering letter from Badulescu telling him “to go back where you came from.”

In September 2016, the Bucharest General Council approved a decision to establish a Holocaust museum in a prestigious building in the capital’s historic “Old Town” district, to be administered by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania.

But the council decided to cancel this decision, with Badulescu reportedly stating during the council’s meeting that the district was too replete with Romanian history in which to build a Holocaust memorial museum.

In a statement, Katz’s organization, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism in Romania (MCA Romania), denounced the decision and stated at the time that the museum was “as important to Romania as it is for its Jewish community” and that the location of the institution must be maintained.
Three more arrested in violent assault on Argentina’s chief rabbi
Buenos Aires police on Monday arrested three more suspects in the brutal February assault against Argentina’s chief rabbi, according to reports in local media, bringing the number of suspected attackers to five.

The suspects included “Coco,” identified as the head of a local gang that committed multiple home invasions in Buenos Aires in recent months, the Infobay news site reported.

Police raided Coco’s home early Monday morning after a months-long investigation that included extensive searches through security camera footage, and analysis of fingerprints left at the scene, the report said.

During the arrest raid, police found large amounts of cash along with items stolen from Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich’s home, including jewelry and a ceremonial pen from Jerusalem. A raid on another suspect’s home unearthed more cash, a satellite tracking system, ropes, ladders and other tools.

Last month, police arrested two of Davidovich’s suspected assailants after locating the vehicle used by the gang on the night of the February 27 robbery and attack.

Davidovich was beaten and seriously injured by a group of up to seven assailants who broke into his Buenos Aires home in the middle of the night. The attackers then stole some 200,000 Argentine pesos (roughly $5,000) in cash, as well as valuable jewelry and a Haredi-style black hat.

1,600-year-old gold coin of emperor who abolished Sanhedrin discovered by pupils
An extremely rare 1,600-year-old gold coin of the Byzantine emperor who made Jews second-class citizens in the Land of Israel has been discovered — ironically, near a new trail built in commemoration of the Sanhedrin he abolished. It is the first time this coin has been found in Israel, according to an Israel Antiquities Authority press release published on Tuesday.

In February, four trekking teens stumbled upon the coin while orienteering in the fields alongside the Zippori stream in the Galilee. The high schoolers, Ido Kadosh, Ofir Sigal, Dotan Miller and Harel Grin, immediately discerned that this was no run-of-the-mill coin and alerted their geography and history teacher Zohar Porshyan, who contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The ninth graders received a certificate of commendation from the IAA at the Haemeq Hama’aravi High School in Kibbutz Yifat in the Jezreel Valley. The coin has been transferred to the State Treasuries.

The obverse of the solidus — a solid gold coin with a weight of approximately 4.5 grams that was minted in the later Roman Empire/early Byzantine era — depicts Emperor Theodosius II; its reverse is illustrated by the goddess Victory holding the Staff of the Cross.

According to IAA numismatic expert Dr. Gabriela Bijovsky, “The gold coin is a solidus minted by the emperor Theodosius II in Constantinople (now Istanbul) around 420–423 CE. Similar coins are known from the Eastern Byzantine empire, but this is the first of its type discovered in Israel.”
Remake of Israeli teen drama ‘Euphoria’ coming to HBO this summer
Yet another Israel-originated television series lands on American shores this summer, and it stars some big celebrity names.

“Euphoria,” which begins an eight-episode run on HBO June 16, is based on the Israeli show of the same name. It follows a group of high school students navigating a world of drugs, sex, identity and social media.

The HBO version features actress and singer Zendaya as the lead of a large ensemble cast, which includes Maude Apatow — Judd Apatow’s 21-year-old daughter. Jewish actor Austin Abrams has a role as well.

It’s written by Sam Levinson, son of Barry (“Rain Man,” “Diner,” etc.). Sam previously co-wrote HBO’s “The Wizard of Lies,” the Bernie Madoff movie starring Robert De Niro (Barry Levinson directed). It will be co-produced by Daphna Levin and Ron Leshem, who created the Israeli version. Leshem is also known for developing some of Israel’s other most successful shows, such as “Homeland,” and adapting his novel “Beaufort” into an Academy Award-nominated film.
Tel Aviv is Ready to Host 10,000 Tourists for Eurovision Contest

New Haggadah told in graphic novel format is a comic book lover’s seder sidekick
There have been many adaptations, editions and translations of the Passover Haggadah, but this year brings, perhaps, the first graphic novel version, brought into being by a former DC Comics editor and an Israeli comic book artist.

This adaptation of the Passover story is the brainchild of Jordan B. “Gorf” Gorfinkel, who oversaw the Batman franchise for a decade, and Israeli artist Erez Zadok, the creator of the autobiographical, Instagram-based “Bundle of Joya.”

“There are many illuminated or illustrated Haggadot,” said Gorfinkel during a recent webinar. “But in a graphic novel, the words and pictures are fused together into a whole that provides context. Everybody of all ages has the ability to engage in Pessah seder in an immersive way that brings to life the characters and elements that add up to the Haggadah.”

Zadok, who is Israeli and grew up in a religious family in Netanya, remembers feeling bored by the annual Passover seder and the long-winded text of the Haggadah.

The graphic novel Haggadah brings together the text, the transliteration and the commentary within the comic book.

“Our goal was that it could be used by anyone, from secular to religious,” said Zadok. “Anyone can appreciate it because it accesses Jewish history.”

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