Back in 1990 director Barry Levinson gave us “Avalon”, his epic masterpiece on the American Jewish community. In that classic film Levinson skillfully examined the Eastern European Jewish immigrants and their often tumultuous encounter with the complexities of American culture and the assimilation process. It is this debilitating process which becomes the underlying subject of Levinson’s chilling examination of the Bernie Madoff story. In “The Wizard of Lies” we see the pitfalls of ‘making it’ in America and how the Jewish community has reconfigured itself at the end of a very tumultuous century.
Category Archives: American Jewish Community
Haaretz newspaper in Israel gets death threats for its unblinking reports on Palestinian conditions, but the New York Times, once again moving mountains to support Israel, describes it as juvenile, antagonistic and contrarian, in a column by Shmuel Rosner.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Post conference, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said the Jewish Diaspora serves as a global intelligence asset to Israel: “the worldwide relationships because of the Jewish Diaspora gives Israel some advantages that virtually no other country or institution anywhere else in the world has.”
Alan Dershowitz gave a pep talk on Jewish influence to an orthodox audience in Scarsdale Tuesday night. His theme? Jews earned their influence in the U.S. by contributing more to its success than others, so now use your influence: “We have contributed disproportionately to the success of this country. We have done so much for this country. When you think of how much better this country has become since our grandparents and great grandparents took the risk of coming, here, we have not only the right we have the obligation to speak out, and use every piece, every bit of power available in support of Israel.”
An “aggressive campaign of silencing, which we know too well from the extremist fringe in Israel, has made its way to the American Jewish community as well,” singer Noa says after synagogue in Detroit suburb cancels her May 18 concert after threats from rightwing Jews.
We must admit we are living in the golden age of Jewish anti-Zionism. A young Maine director, Eric Axelman, is doing a film about the American Jewish responsibility for the occupation. US Jews have the “magic stick” to change Israel, a Palestinian tells him.
“No one in our family was ever as passionate about Israel as me, and now I’m the most critical.” Liz Rose meditates on her summer in 1986, at the Alexander Muss High School, when she fell in love with Jerusalem.
The donor class of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts puts its foot down, and the party moves to quash a lukewarm resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Fears of BDS and an “exodus” of Jewish leaders from the party fueled the response.
Jared Kushner is related by marriage to Hart Hasten, a Holocaust survivor and kingmaker in Indiana. The Hasten-Kushner clan is the Jewish connection Trump and Pence shared before they became political partners.
SNL stays away from Israel jokes but comic Vanessa Bayer highlighted Jewish alienation from Israel in mentioning “my uncle Simon even though my dad says he is so blinded by his devotion to Israel that he ignores all reason.” The line got a pretty good laugh.
The New York Times has hired Bret Stephens as a columnist, elevating an Islamophobic neoconservative who regularly pronounces on the “disease of the Arab mind” and the “communal psychosis” of Palestinians, while Israel is blameless.
Matt Katz of WNYC extols a Haggadah that defies Trump over refugees’ rights without mentioning Israel’s treatment of Palestinian refugees. The double standard is obvious, and damaging.
Robert Cohen recommends adding a recent UN report on Israeli practices of “apartheid” into the family Haggadah, writing, “Passover is the most popular and well observed of all Jewish festivals. This year’s eight day celebration of redemption, liberation and religious and political freedom begins on Monday 10th April. But long ago our uncritical commitment to the project of Jewish nationalism began to undermine it. So much so, that Passover today has become little more than an annual act of communal hypocrisy. And in this year of bitter anniversaries (Balfour, the UN partition plan, the Occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza) we’ll be taking that hypocrisy to depressingly new heights.”
Perhaps the preface to the Seder should be stated starkly: “What we, as Jews, have done to you, the Palestinian people, is wrong. What we, as Jews, are doing to you, the Palestinian people, is wrong.” Though confession won’t end the occupation, it states clearly the context of whatever Passover narrative follows.