Gawker has a juicy post up that everyone is sending around this morning: it’s about a group email that was leaked from the hacking of Sony; and the subject is the Gaza war of last summer. Gawker is excited by the celebrity gossip: Natalie Portman got angry at producer Ryan Kavanaugh for copying her with a group of nearly 40 others, thereby ruining that email account.
But the heart of the exchange is Kavanaugh’s concern that rage toward Israel over Gaza will result in another Holocaust. And hiphop producer Russell Simmons responds in sympathy to Kavanaugh.
The elite email group includes Sony’s CEO Michael Lynton, Hollywood producers, Republican Israel supporter Frank Luntz, and Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The email chain began with a note about Gaza last August — “Is the Gaza War Really Over?” — from producer Ron Rotholz, who, according to Gawker, “has the habit of forwarding urgent articles about anti-Semitism and Israel to a circle of colleagues and friends… More than a dozen such forwards… can be located in the inbox of Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, who seems to mostly ignore them.”
Before the summer 50 percent of college students supported israel, today less the 25 percent do. There are hate crimes against heed [sic] happening in almost every major metropolitan city, now including the US.
We have let this happen. And it’s our job to keep another Hollacast from happening. Many of you may think that can’t happen, that is extreme. My Grandmother told me over and over again remember no one believed it could happen and everyone thought the government would not allow it to. It took 5 years before the us stepped in, and 12 million dead.
If you pull newspapers from pre Hollacast it seems eerily close to our world today.
You may recall that Kavanaugh was vehement last summer against Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem when they said Israel was guilty of genocide in Gaza. Kavanaugh wanted Hollywood to cut them off at the knees.
Russell Simmons then responds sympathetically to the group:
Simple messaging from non Jews specifically from Muslims promoting peace and Israel’s right to exist. Should be spread. (Possibly using statements from Hamas leadership in this branding exercise) could be a unifying force. U have ken sunshine on the chain. We have resources and the desire to win rather then loose the hearts of young Muslims and Jews. Our love for innocent suffering Palestinians must be a strong part of our messaging.
With great love all things are possible
Gawker’s Sam Biddle writes:
Simmons’ suggestion is close to the hilarious one that former Time editor and current Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Rick Stengel posed to Lynton in a separate email a week or two later: “My question is, who is the Muslim Bob Geldof? What if there were a Muslim Anti-ISIL We Are the World video/concert? It could have Muslim artists from all over the world plus hip hop stars.”
I’ll spare you the rest of the aimless debate over peace in the Middle East and Israeli self-defense—which took place entirely between Kavanaugh, Simmons, Rotholz and not a single other member of the 39-strong reply-all group..
I don’t think this kind of group email is meaningless. Frank Luntz is a rightwing Zionist pollster who has promoted PM Netanyahu over President Obama. Marvin Hier is a rightwinger too. Simmons is an outspoken Democrat, but he is obviously concerned about saying the right thing re Israel to a group that includes powerful folks. Yes: also some concern for “innocent Palestinians,” as opposed to Hamas. Despite Portman’s demurral, the email chain here surely represents a cultural consensus about Israel inside the establishment. The fact that Rick Stengel of the State Department also reached out at that time to Lynton– both men are of Jewish descent (and Stengel is an old friend of mine, and a good guy)– is no conspiracy but a reflection of The Powers That Be in this day and age. The same cultural consensus was evident when Democrat Haim Saban and Republican Sheldon Adelson got together and mused about bombing Iran and buying the New York Times to guarantee its support for Israel. Haaretz at that time said archly, “It was like a scene out of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ Two immensely wealthy Jews, key financiers of the main political parties of the world’s superpower, discussing how to wage war on the enemies of the Jews, and control the media and presidents.” It’s easy for an Israeli outlet to make that kind of conspiratorial comment; it has the excuse that it is talking amongst Jews in a confidential manner and not to a general public who might conceive a prejudice against Jews. But this is also the embarrassment of the Sony email chain: it is a reflection of Jewish power inside the establishment in support of Israel, in the midst of a massacre.
Update: Just now on WNYC, Lucinda Franks said that her husband Robert Morgenthau, the former NY DA, is working in retirement with the Mossad to catch terrorists. Jeez. It never ends.