04/08 Links Pt2: When Hitler and Islam found common cause; When Muslims murder Palestinians
the Israeli Defense Force were storming into Gaza the streets of Europe
were overrun with demonstrators. There were virtual riots outside of
the Israeli embassy in London, tens of thousands of people marched there
in support of Palestinians as they did in Paris, Madrid and elsewhere.
With every march came cries that the IDF were perpetrating a massacre in
Gaza. The pictures of dead Palestinian children filled Facebook feeds.
was no massacre of Palestinians at the hands of the IDF last Summer.
But in Syria there is. Right now as you read this. But you would be
forgiven for being unaware of it. For this time there aren’t tens of
thousands demonstrating on the streets. There are no demonstrations at
all. There are no rallies. There are no screams of massacre. There are
no demands on governments to take action.
There is simply a sad, deafening silence.
not as if people don’t know what’s happening in the largest Palestinian
refugee camp in Syria, Yarmouk. The story took pride of place on Sky
News, it has been published by every major newspaper around the world.
Yet there is no action. The heat, the friction, the activism of the
Summer is nowhere to be found.
In the United Kingdom there is no
shortage of organizations dedicated to the Palestinian cause. The
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was the main organizer of the
demonstrations and of a boycott campaign against Israel and yet the
cause of Palestinian suffering in Syria is noticeable only for its
absence from their website. There are no events planned, there are no
calls for aid, there are no plans to lobby Members of Parliament to take
There is silence.
The close relationship between Hitler’s top generals and policy planners and the devout Muslim soldiers who fought in Nazi Germany’s army was strange and unnatural. The two groups shared almost nothing — except common enemies. David Motadel’s “Islam and Nazi Germany’s War” tells how this unique relationship evolved and survived notwithstanding deep-rooted differences.
The Nazis’ approach to Islam was creative and original. They organized — and aggressively publicized — the all-Muslim troop units within the German army. These units were given special privileges: Fridays off from duty, menus without pork and Ramadan fasting concessions. The fuhrer’s propaganda machine made the worldwide Muslim community aware of how Hitler’s army included all — Muslim troop units where their religion’s rites and ceremonies were honored and treated with respect.
Additionally — and maybe more importantly — the Nazis established schools for the training of Islamic religious leaders (imams and mullahs) in occupied sections of the USSR. Two-and-a-half decades of rigid, doctrinaire communism had depleted the number of the mullahs and imams with theological and ritualistic training. Few, if any, were younger than 50. The army’s “chaplain schools” were welcomed by the Muslims throughout the world. In addition to their military duties the German-trained mullahs advanced the Nazi cause within the sacred confines of mosques.
Hitler’s well-publicized friendship with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem gave his program cachet throughout the Islamic world. The Grand Mufti (who lived in Berlin during much of World War II) was a revered figure. Before moving to Berlin, he was an anti-colonial political leader in the Middle East and a direct descendent of the Prophet, who had made an official pilgrimage to Mecca.
During Hitler’s last days in his Berlin bunker, he confessed to Martin Bormann, the head of the Nazi chancellery and his personal secretary, that one of the great mistakes in Nazi strategy during the war was not making a greater effort to mobilize Muslim support, and promote local insurrections. Hitler told Bormann, “All Islam vibrated with news of our victories.” He believed the Mohammedan world was ready to rise in revolt, and the Nazis’ failure to capitalize on Islam’s unrest was an important error. He attributed this to Germany’s deferral to Italian, Spanish and Vichy French interests in North Africa and the Middle East.
The Islamist who killed four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris may have attempted to murder children at a Jewish school shortly beforehand, French media reported.
The report Tuesday on BFMTV is based on an interview with a woman who witnessed the Islamist, Amedy Coulibaly, make a traffic accident and then kill a police officer south of Paris after the officer approach the scene of the accident.
Coulibaly killed his Jewish victims on Jan. 9, one day after killing the officer and fleeing the scene of the accident in Montrouge south of Paris. He was killed by police hours after taking over the Hyper Cacher supermarket on the city’s eastern edge.
“Police told me that this man was armed and following a plan,” said the witness, who was also involved in the accident and was only idenitifed as Anne. “That he had a Jewish school right next to where I had my accident and that the accident messed up his plans so instead of killing children at a Jewish school, he killed a police officer.”
There is much talk going around now about so-called Jewish privilege: That we can blend in, that we’ve “made it” here in America. But privilege only exists when you’re comparing one people to another people, and I’m not sure why we do that. Does anyone benefit from this kind of one-upsmanship? I would not trade my problems—which, to be clear, are that the country that I can flee to for asylum is under threat of nuclear annihilation by Iran and random, unprovoked attack by its neighbors—with anyone else’s. It sucks all around.
Privilege has two meanings: One is that those who are privileged are elevated somehow. The other is that they are different. I renounce the notion that Jews—Jews, being told to stay home from their synagogues for their safety, Jews being kept out of schools and ridiculed in the street, all this, right now in Europe—have the first kind of privilege. But the second, we have it in droves:
It is my Jewish privilege to have very few blood relatives because the rest of them were murdered in the Holocaust. It’s my privilege to have to keep my mouth shut at casually racist remarks, because “you know what I mean, like a JAP, everyone says it.” It is my privilege to have thought twice about accompanying a celebrity to Paris as I profiled him, then let the clock run down on the offer so that I could only interview in Los Angeles. It is my Jewish privilege that the word lampshade makes me cringe, that the word camp—camp!—makes me cringe. It is my privilege to always wonder what I should have been doing differently, how I am a disgrace to the martyrs of the Holocaust because my outrage and sadness is confined to my Direct Messages.
Writing in the DhakaTribune, Samrat Choudhury attacks Ayaan Hirsi Ali for insisting that Islam needs a reformation. Choudhury postulates that the reason Muslims have acted in violent fashion is the fault of those outside Islam, writing:
“A lot of what is wrongly characterised as a problem with Islam is probably a result of colonial and neocolonial policies and Cold War geo-politics. US President Barack Obama has had the good grace to say that ISIS is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq which grew out of the US invasion of that country.”
The fault of the West is not just a current one, according to Choudury; the basis for the problem is that most hallowed of leftist and Marxist targets: colonialism. He continues, “Going further back, colonialism created structures and hierarchies that excluded those who did not adopt the cultures and mannerisms of the colonisers. This is evident through the formerly colonised world to this day.”
And don’t forget the intimidation practiced by the West in speaking English or wearing suits: “Western languages and ways of dress have implicit superiority attached to them. The hierarchy is internalised by those who are excluded just as it is by those who benefit from it.”
To sum up the reasons for the murderous attacks by Muslims in various parts of the world in pure Marxist language, Choudury proclaims, “We cannot understand the confused anger of the excluded if we do not look at it in its structural and historical dimensions.”
The aftermath of the Paris terror attacks has taken its toll on France’s riot police who are apparently fed up of standing guard all day outside the country’s “sensitive sites” – and have started calling in sick in protest.
If you’ve walked the streets of Paris or any other major French city in the last few months, you’ll no doubt have noticed the soldiers and police officers – often standing in pairs – guarding “sensitive” sites like Jewish schools, media outlets, and Muslim places of worship.
They’ve been there since the terror attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket in early January, when 17 people were killed in what are known as the Paris terror attacks.
There have been no terror attacks since, and burglary levels have dropped in the capital, but the officers with the CRS, who are charged with controlling riots and protecting public buildings, are reportedly getting tired of being on guard all day.
The massive cyberattack the hacker group Anonymous had threatened to unleash on Israel Tuesday barely registered on the country’s cyber infrastructure, thanks to diligent protection measures taken by all major industries and sectors.
The hackers, who threatened Israel with an “electronic Holocaust,” managed to disrupt only a handful of servers and minor, unprotected websites, and Israeli cyber experts said the coordinated attacks caused little damage.
Israel’s cyber infrastructure, especially its critical infrastructure, sustains hundreds of attacks on a daily basis, according to National Cyber Bureau data.
The hacking campaign, which has taken place every April 7 since 2013, seeks to protest Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. In 2013, the hackers first waged the coordinated campaign, dubbed #OpIsrael, on the eve of Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Proving Saul Alinksy’s old adage “the threat is worse than the thing itself”, Anonymous’s threat of an “Electronic Holocaust” aimed at Israel has been less than successful.
The promised April 7 day of rage targeted websites throughout Israel, yet only a handful were taken out of service. Some soft targets, such as the websites of musicians Shalom Hanoch, Ivri Lider, Hadag Nachash and the Israeli Center for Excellence through Education were hacked. Government websites were unaffected.
In a move that can only be described as hitting below the belt, the Israeli Urological Association was temporarily taken down.
Caterpillar. One way or another, the BDS’ers are obsessed by it. Even Medea Benjamin of Code Pink found Caterpillar irresistible, and kept an investment of $180,000 in Caterpillar stock in her Foundation until 2011.
Its no wonder. Caterpillar performs, both in the field and in the market. Caterpillar continues to pay a dividend yield of 3.27%, compared to the average 2% dividend paid out by other companies in the S and P index.
Gaza loves their Caterpillars, too, and neither JVP nor the Corries have been able to convince them to give ’em up, begging the question of just who and what is this “Palestinian civil society” we keep hearing about?
But, but, but, you say “Tiaa-Cref divested.” Ummmm. No. Several socially conscious funds removed Caterpillar from their portfolio in 2012 as the result of an employee labor dispute. When the issue was resolved Caterpillar was returned to the listing.
The statue of Justice Louis Brandeis, situated on the grounds of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, can’t take it anymore.
Of all the absurd positions Brandeis University has taken over the years, the latest really may be the final straw.
Last year Brandeis suffered widespread disgrace for revoking an offer to grant an honorary degree to a Muslim-born advocate for women and children’s rights who had been subjected to female genital mutilation and threatened with murder by Islamic fundamentalists for being “anti-Islam.” This year, Brandeis selected as its commencement speaker a former U.S. State Department careerist who thinks the state of Palestine exists and that “Palestine” “granted” to Israel land that “Palestine” had been “assigned” in 1947.
That former administration official, Thomas Pickering, wrote a public letter last year encouraging the U.S. administration to stop kowtowing to Israel — and we all know how eager the Obama administration has been to take orders from Jerusalem.
Pickering has the reputation of being extremely anti-Israel even amongst his peers – and for the State Department, that’s quite an achievement. If Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the ardent Zionist and advocate for the disenfranchised (for him the concepts were naturally compatible) for whom Brandeis University was named, could see what his namesake university was doing, he would demand his name be removed.
Phyllis Chesler: The Anti-Israel Intifada on the American Campus
Andrew Pessin, Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College, is the latest casualty in the campus-based culture wars. Dr. Pessin is a well-liked and much published professor, self-described as the “only Jewish professor on campus who openly advocates for Israel.” And now, for remarks made during last summer’s Gaza war, he faces an attack from Palestinian supporters seeking to silence pro-Israel stances on campus.
Pessin tells Breitbart News he believes he was set up by “a Muslim student and an Islamic Studies colleague” who worked in concert. They dug up one of Professor Pessin’s Facebook entries, one he posted during the August 2014 war in Gaza, the war in which Israeli soldiers uncovered and destroyed countless underground terror-tunnels which opened into Israel and were to be used in a mass attack against Israeli civilians. Referring to a leadership that purposely exposed its own civilians to death merely for propaganda purposes, and whose holy warriors attacked mainly Israeli civilians, Pessin compared this leadership to a “rabid pit bull.”
One student, Lamiya Khandaker, whose parents are from Bangladesh and who is also the Chair of Diversity and Equity for the campus’s Student Government Association, wrote to Professor Pessin. He immediately clarified that he was referring to the Hamas leadership and ideology, not to Palestinians; and, upon the advice of the administration, he apologized to Khandaker and deleted the post. Too late, too little.
A firestorm ensued. Students wrote letters and the student newspaper, The College Voice, published them (without reaching out to Pessin). An online petition was launched, calling upon the university to disassociate itself from Pessin’s “racism,” and on April 1st the university canceled classes so all students could attend a “mandatory series of events” for a campus-wide conversation on racism, equity, and inclusion.
Two videos of anti-Semitic rants by a radical Muslim leader have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions and may become the first act of discrimination to attract a criminal charge in NSW.
Ismail al-Wahwah, the Sydney-based leader of fringe political group Hizb-ut Tahrir, was filmed in two sermons last year describing Jews as the “hidden evil” and calling for a “jihad against the Jews”.
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies last month sent the videos to the Anti-Discrimination Board NSW, which forwarded them to the Director of Public Prosecutions because the alleged racism might be serious enough to incite violence or involve a threat of physical harm.
A successful prosecution will add further fuel to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s argument to ban Hizb-ut Tahrir for so-called hate preaching.
In one of Mr al-Wahwah’s videos, filmed on July 25 following a public rally in Sydney against Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, he called for jihad against Jews to a large gathering in Lakemba, saying in Arabic: “The entire world suffers from the children of Israel today and complains about them.”
The comments include calling Israelis infidels and that the entire world suffers because of them and their “hidden evil” and that “the embers of jihad against the Jews will continue to thrive”.
There are also chants of “Khaybar Khaybar the armies of Muhammad will return, which is said to be a reference to the historic battle of Khaybar in which Jews were massacred.
When a second video emerged last month, then minister for citizenship and communities Victor Dominello said he found it “deeply disturbing” and would ask the Anti-Discrimination Board to consider both videos “concurrently and expeditiously”.
Bowen’s embarrassingly puerile attempt to persuade listeners to Radio 4’s most widely heard and influential programme that the US Administration is on the same page as an internationally recognized terrorist organization of course depends on listeners being kept in the dark with regard to the fact that Hamas regards all of Israel as ‘occupied land’ – not just the areas previously occupied by Jordan and Egypt between 1948 and 1967 – and rejects Israel’s right to exist, thus making a two state solution unviable.
Perhaps the ‘Today’ editor would care to clarify both the editorial considerations behind the omission of that and other important context and the broader decision to misleadingly present Bowen’s transparent propaganda to Radio 4 listeners as ‘news’.
We have reported extensively on Guardian journalist Chris McGreal’s malign obsession with Israel, and his tendency on occasion to evoke antisemitic tropes about Jewish power.
This blog has garnered multiple corrections to substantive errors in stories by McGreal. In 2011, following complaints by UK Media Watch and others, Guardian editors revised language in a McGreal article suggesting the US was a slave to Israel. The language was deemed “inconsistent with their editorial standards”.
McGreal’s latest Guardian report (Netanyahu’s alliance with Republicans risks further ire from Obama, April 6) ostensibly deals with the Israeli Prime Minister’s putative alliance with Republicans over opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal, but includes a characteristically gratuitous reference to Jews in the following passage:
“Cotton, as the New York Times noted this week, is a major recipient of money from rightwing supporters of Israel. The hardline Emergency Committee for Israel spent nearly $1m to back Cotton’s election. A political action committee run by John Bolton, the hawkish former US ambassador to the UN, gave $825,000 to elect Cotton, its second largest donation of the most recent election. Hundreds of thousands of dollars also came from two Jewish American billionaires who strongly support Netanyahu.”
McGreal is presumably referring to two Americans mentioned in a New York Times article linked to in the passage, Sheldon Adelson and Seth Klarman.
Adolf Hitler was almost assassinated two months after World War II began, during a November 8, 1939, speech at a Munich beer hall, the BBC reported on Sunday.
13 Minutes, a German film released this month, tells the story of Georg Elser, a 36-year-old carpenter/cabinet maker from a small southern German town, who crafted an intricate assassination plan that proved to be one of history’s greatest “what ifs.”
Elser believed that Hitler’s rule would bring the downfall of Germany. To deter this, he drafted a plan to place a bomb in Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, where Hitler made the same speech annually and at a regular time to commemorate the Beer Hall Putsch he had launched there in 1923.
Elser, who had picked up skills working with explosives while employed at an armaments firm, began working at the beer house, granting him daily access. For more than a month he arrived late at night, hiding in its corners until it closed. He would work all night, carving out a space by the stage for a home-built bomb with a timing mechanism concealed in a cork casing.
According to the BBC, he made sure that his loudest actions took place every 10 minutes, coinciding with the regular automatic flushing of toilets in the Bürgerbräukeller, to muffle the sounds of drilling.
On the eve of Hitler’s speech, Elser’s bomb was ready. Yet things did not go according to plan. Hitler began his speech at the anticipated time, but concluded it an hour early in order to catch a train back to Berlin. Thirteen minutes later, after most of the Nazi faithful had left, the bomb went off, killing eight and bringing about massive damage.
The uniform of a top Nazi official was being offered for sale for about $126,000, or 85,000 pounds sterling, by an antique shop in the UK.
Experts used seat stains to determine that the uniform was worn by Nazi commander of the air force Hermann Goering, also the founder of the Gestapo, the secret state police.
John Cabello, the owner of Devon-Parade Antiques in Plymouth, Devon, which was selling the uniform, said he bought it at an auction at a private Swiss museum, thinking it was a replica.
But the wear and tear on the light-gray uniform prompted him to seek out expert examination.
This morning, Jewish residents of Gaithersburg, MD, awoke to find the local Conservative synagogue defaced. Congregation Shaare Torah is situated less than an hour from Washington, D.C., and was vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic epithets like “KKK” and “Hitler.”
Police are looking into the incident, which comes in the middle of the Passover holiday, and have reportedly identified a masked vandal on surveillance footage.
The synagogue and its members are not bowing to the vandals, however, and even as the police investigation is ongoing, will be meeting tonight.
The FBI and the US Postal Service joined an investigation into threatening letters containing a harmless white substance that were sent to Jewish centers in Boulder, Colorado this week, CBS reported on Tuesday.
Employees at the Jewish Community Center on Kalmia Avenue opened an envelope on Monday morning filled with a white substance and accompanied by a note saying, “You have enemies.” At the time the building was already filled with a dozen preschool children along with staff members.
“Why Boulder? Why here? I don’t know,” said Boulder Sheriff Commander Jeff Hendry. “Kids are learning and then something like this happens. Three, four, five years old that parents had left at school. It’s hard.”
After Boulder County Health Department and a hazmat team responded to the scene, the building was evacuated. Less than three hours later the white powder was determined to be non-hazardous, CBS reported.
Jewish human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Wednesday urged UEFA to act on alleged anti-Semitic chants during a friendly match between Austria and Bosnia.
The Los Angeles-based group, which combats anti-Semitism and terrorism while promoting human rights, called on UEFA president Michel Platini to punish the Bosnian Football Association.
The Center claims to have a video of Bosnian fans chanting ‘Kill the Jews’ while waving Palestinian flags.
In a letter to Platini, the Center’s director for international relations Dr. Shimon Samuels urged UEFA to “take the strongest disciplinary measures against the Bosnian Football Association.”
“This action debases the beautiful game and presages violence in sport from a new Jihadist-Nazi alliance,” added Samuels.
After the Bushey eruv was approved by local government on March 24, local resident Gay Butler, of the “Bushey Residents Group” which formed to fight the eruv, wrote a letter in the local Watford Observer newspaper that charged a local synagogue with attempting “to socially engineer and substantially grow the Jewish community.”
The letter, reprinted on Tuesday on the website of the Jewish News newspaper, is titled “Bushey synagogue will regret eruv.” It charges that the eruv “has disturbed what has always been a lovely community where people of different faiths or none have happily co-existed for years.”
It railed against the “powerful Jewish lobby in Hertsmere Borough Council” and charged that members of the local Bushey & District Synagogue “have been manipulative and misled the people of Bushey as to the true reason for the eruv – i.e., to socially engineer and substantially grow the Jewish community, thereby identifying Bushey, like Golders Green, as a Jewish area.”
One of the American Jewish community’s most visible proponents of Muslim-Jewish dialogue has announced that he would like to organize a Holocaust memorial ceremony next year in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah.
It is an “existential challenge now to identify Muslim leaders that will stand with us shoulder to shoulder that will stand up for the Jewish community and will defend the Jewish community and I am telling you those leaders exist,” Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding told The Jerusalem Post.
As part of that effort he stated that he is “working on some very significant events to take place within Muslim countries” on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2015, which falls on January 27.
While holding commemorations in Jewish communities is important, it is also “preaching to the converted” and given that Holocaust denial is a problem in the Muslim world it is supremely important to hold “significant commemorations that will take place in the capitals of Muslim countries.”
When Haaretz approved writer Karni Eldad’s idea for an article on B&Bs (bed and breakfasts) in Judea and Samaria, the left-leaning Israeli newspaper probably didn’t envision that the assignment would be the precursor to an entire book on the subject.
But after Eldad discovered the abundance of boutique tourist attractions in the area, that’s exactly what happened. While Judea and Samaria are often scapegoated by the international community – and by media outlets just like Haaretz – for being a territorial “obstacle” to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, Eldad’s “Yesha is Fun: The good life guide to Judea and Samaria” explores a largely unknown dimension of the Jewish communities beyond the so-called “Green Line” (the 1949 armistice line). “Yesha” is a Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, the latter of which has been Palestinian-controlled territory since August 2005.
“Haaretz is probably hating themselves for doing that,” Eldad tells JNS.org, looking back on the B&B article assignment. “The book has succeeded so much that they didn’t really know what they did when they agreed to let me write this piece.”
Jobs are coming to northern Israel in the country’s fledgling natural gas industry, and Erez College is opening the door to those new careers.
People have long joked that after 40 years in the desert, Moses still led the Jews to the only place in the Middle East without oil or gas. In 2009, that all changed with the discovery of the Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields. But while natural gas offers the prospect of freedom from foreign energy interests, Israel has few qualified practical engineers ready to populate the industry.
Into this gap leapt Sandee Illouz, CEO of Erez College, a vocational college in the town of Shlomi on Israel’s northern border. “The discovery of natural gas in Israel opens a whole new realm of jobs and job opportunities,” Illouz said at a March 10 ceremony that unveiled the college’s Mechanical Practical Engineer program and new Natural Gas Laboratories.
It was thirty years ago, on my first visit to Israel — I was there again last month with a delegation of Hispanic entrepreneurs — that I had the first of several epiphanies that would shape my early adult life, and later, my choice of career. It was near the end of a six-week tour through Europe and Israel when my then girlfriend and I visited a friend of hers who had recently immigrated to a small housing complex in the Negev, adjacent to the Dead Sea. It was midnight, and I had wandered out for a short stroll under the surprisingly cold desert sky. I never felt more alone, yet never more connected. It was just I and thou, in quiet thought, about the past, present, and future.
The epiphany: the desert can be an amazing place for creativity. From nothing can come so many things, as so many things have. And from this part of the world? Monotheism, mobile tech, and more recently, cyber security tech, where Israel sees an opportunity to reposition itself again in the world.
Israeli governments may not have a history of lasting very long, but at least the operation of the Knesset building itself is becoming more and more sustainable. By undertaking measures that any environmentally friendly homeowner would take, the home of Israeli politics has recently become the greenest parliament in the world.
On March 29, the Knesset unveiled a 4,560-square-meter (50,000 square feet) solar field on its roof and those of surrounding buildings. Although the 1,500 solar panels are the highlight and the most obvious aspect of the greening of the Knesset, they are by far not the only way in which the Knesset is conserving energy. The Green Knesset Project, launched in January 2014, involves 13 different ecologically conscious projects at a cost of NIS 7 million ($1.8 million).
“Today is the closure of a circle. Eight years ago, we had a dream of making the Knesset a green parliament,” MK Dov Khenin of the Joint Arab List, chair of the Knesset environmental caucus, told a group of reporters he met in a Knesset hallway on his way to the solar-field unveiling ceremony.
The 450 KW-producing solar field, which is larger than its closest competitors at the German Reichstag in Berlin and the Australian Parliament House in Canberra, will generate 10 percent of the electricity used at the Knesset — worth NIS 300,000, annually. By comparison, only 2 percent of Israel’s electricity is currently generated from renewable energy sources.
Program your TVs now; NBC will start screening Israel’s latest variety show, “I Can Do That,” on Tuesday, May 26, at 10 pm, right after “America’s Got Talent.”
The show, which challenges a celebrity team each week, including performance teams such as Cirque Du Soleil and Blue Man Group, was created by Armoza Formats, an Israeli production team. Unusually, the variety show has never been broadcast in Israel.
The placement of “I Can Do That,” known as ICDT, after “America’s Got Talent,” one of NBC’s most successful shows, is considered a coup for the Israeli team.
For now, NBC is planning to broadcast six shows of “I Can Do That,” running into July.
When I tuned in on March 29, 2015, for the National Geographic’s film production Killing Jesus, adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus, I was poised, pen in hand, to write about the return of Jesus the Tea Party guy. That’s what O’Reilly gave us in his book Killing Jesus: Jesus kvetching about taxation and big government.
In the National Geographic dramatization, Jesus is still complaining about taxes (but who isn’t). Here, though, he is more vigorously castigating the rich while praising and embracing the poor. The rich are clearly the villains; there is no suggestion of a trickle-down economic system that might share the wealth.
While the narrative does not add anything new, it may prove useful as a straightforward dramatization of the Gospels for bible classes and for others who wish to review and discuss the Gospel stories about Jesus. The production pretty much selectively follows the Gospels’ depiction of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death, with a few embellished departures. For example, Elizabeth and Zachariah, parents of John the Baptist, join Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in their journey to Egypt, a journey they make in order to evade King Herod’s order to kill all children in Bethlehem age two and younger. The couple accompanying Mary and Joseph is a cozy addition, but it didn’t happen that way, according to Matthew’s account of the event (Matthew 2: 13-14).
That said, in several important respects this production is unique as an authentic representation of the life of Jesus. Jesus, his family, and followers are portrayed as dedicated Jews. There is not even a hint about a new religion — not until the postscript do we learn that after the crucifixion, Jesus’ death and teachings did inspire a new religion that today has two billion followers.
It’s no secret that non-Jews are into Jewish names.
Sarah Palin named her dog Hadassah. Gwyneth Paltrow (that perennially “almost” Jewish actress) and Chris Martin named their son Moses. In recent years, the name Cohen has become a popular first name amongst non-Jews.
So it might not come as a surprise to some that Jill Duggar – one of the 19 kids from “19 Kids and Counting” fame – and her husband Derick Dillard have named their first child Israel David.
“Love this sweet baby Israel!” the Duggar family exclaimed on its official Facebook page.
However, the reason why Dillard is wearing an Israel Defense Forces T-shirt in an Instagram photo with young Israel is less obvious.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary songstress Billie Holiday, who left this world too early, at the age of 44. A couple of years before her death, Holiday recorded a gorgeous, impromptu cover of the Jewish classic “My Yiddishe Mamme,” which was composed by Jack Yellen and Lew Pollack and popularized by vaudeville star Sophie Tucker in 1925. The song has been covered many times, by everyone from the Barry Sisters to Neil Sedaka to—improbably—Tom Jones, who apparently learned it from his father, a Welsh coal miner. (Also noteworthy: this rendition by Ray Charles on the set of The Nanny.) But Holiday’s version is something else entirely: with a simple piano accompaniment, it’s nostalgic but not kitschy, full of sentiment without being sentimental, evoking both strength and vulnerability.
According to the liner notes of the Idelsohn Society’s 2011 compilation “Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations,” the song was recorded at the New York City home of clarinetist Tony Scott, in an effort to coax his baby into ‘talking’ into the microphone. Another version of the story, by musician Jack Gottlieb, has it that the child was the son of William Dufty, who co-authored Holiday’s autobiography, “Lady Sings the Blues.” In any event, Holiday’s crooning is successful—how could it fail?—and the child can be heard cooing toward the end of the recording. It’s a delightful, candid moment.