The Jew News Review – November 19, 2022 – Pardon me

Shabbat shalom! And a happy Thanksgiving week to all my JNR friends!

It was Abe Lincoln, historians note, who was the first President to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey, but apparently it was JFK who is credited with the first official White House pardoning. Unfortunately, that pardoned bird lived longer than JFK, who was assassinated 3 days later. And it was George H W Bush, who made pardoning the bird an official White House ceremony, although my own version of history believes that Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon counts as the first official pardon given to a real turkey. Ba-dum-bum-CHING!

This week began with Dave Chapelle hosting SNL and riffing on Ye and Kyrie Irving’s anti-semitic rants which raised the wrath of many Jews who believe it was not appropriate for Chapelle to go there and “normalize” some of the anti-semitic tropes we have been seeing and hearing way too often lately. As I watched Chapelle’s performance, I confess my stomach tightened for most of the gig, and I kept thinking to myself, “is he really going there?” I have no issue with, and typically enjoy a good stand-up comedy routine that pokes fun of ourselves, but I have always believed that in the comedy world, the de facto standard was that it was ok to make fun of your own group or identity, but bad form to make fun of others. But the usually edgy Chapelle went there and while the live audience seemed to enjoy it all, the fallout has ranged from those wanting to “cancel” Chapelle for further normalizing the stupid tropes, to those who feel we should take advantage of these moments to educate. Personally, I fall in the latter camp, but I could be biased against anything smelling like “cancel culture”, which has gotten way out of hand. 

I really enjoyed “SpokesJew” Jon Stewart on the topic, and thought you all might as well, so I have linked a 12 minute clip from his appearance with old friend Steve Colbert, where he provides his take on Chapelle’s monologue and it’s fallout. 

Starting with humor, Stewart defused the absurdity of the “Jews run everything” tropes by steering right into them. “I’m not on all the committees, and I don’t know who ended Kanye’s Adidas deal,” Stewart said. “I’m on oil prices and bagel flavors.” (Blueberry bagels were the work of a “rogue committee”, he claimed, and I couldn’t agree more!)

Later, he pivoted to a clear-eyed analysis of the best way to combat tropes of Jewish control: not by forcing an apology tour or silencing any murmurs of conspiracy, but by having frank and public discussions. “Penalizing somebody for having a thought, I don’t think it is the way to change their minds or gain understanding,” Stewart said, addressing Kyrie Irving’s suspension. “This is a grown-ass man. And the idea that you would say to him, ‘We’re gonna put you in a timeout. You have to sit in the corner and stare at the wall until you can no longer believe that the Jews control the international banking system.’ Like, we have to get past this in the country.

I know, I know. Enough already and get to the good stuff! What else is happening around the Jewish world? Inquiring Jews want to know! Well, your patience is appreciated, and here you go, a roundup of Jewish gems curated by yours truly from many sources including, but not limited to, The Forward, Times of Israel, Kveller, Izzy, Jewish Boston, and The Jewish Telegraph Agency:

  1. Republican Jews dump Trump – Further evidence the country is finally moving away from the disgraced former President came this week from the huge Republican Jewish Coalition convention taking place this weekend in the closet of a Las Vegas hotel. Trump is expected to address the event via Zoom after initially saying he wouldn’t be able to make it. Florida Governor Desantis is the emerging star of the event, with Nikki Haley and many Trump critics receiving more coveted spots on the speaking roster. Click here for more.
  2. SBF: Bernie Madoff Revisited? Just when the Bernie nonsense had drifted to the back burner, another Ponzi scheme led by a Jew is making headlines, this time in the crypto world. Cryptocurrency maverick Sam Bankman-Fried, who famously became a billionaire under 30, is immersed in a reversal of fortune so vast and abrupt it has hit record proportions. The story is so fantastic it should become an instant Netflix hit before we even know the extent of the fallout. The guy looks like Larry from the 3 Stooges and unfortunately, I am afraid he will now become the poster child for a new series of anti-semitic tropes. What makes this plot twist even more complicated is that SBF drew attention for his commitment to “effective altruism,” his membership in an organization called Giving What We Can, in which wage earners dedicate 10% to effective charities, and his public pledge to give away his fortune over his career. He was also one of the largest contributors to the Democratic party and candidates. Click here for more.
  3. Harvey Weinstein’s “Jew to Jew” appeal doesn’t work – Another bad Jew is getting airtime now with the release of the film “She Said”. The film, directed by Maria Schrader with stars Zoe Kazan as NYT reporter Jodi Kantor and Carey Mulligan as Megan Twohey, is an understated thriller that has drawn comparisons to “All the President’s Men” — and multiple subtle but powerful Jewish-themed subplots reveal the way Kantor’s Jewishness arose during, and at times intersected with, the investigation.  In one scene, the Kantor character notes that a Jewish member of Weinstein’s team tried to appeal to her “Jew to Jew.” In another, Kantor shares a moving moment with Weinstein’s longtime accountant, the child of Holocaust survivors, as they discuss the importance of speaking up about wrongdoing. Click here for more.
  4. 🏀  Educating Kyrie? As John Stewart said, I was not surprised by Kanye’s nonsense, but didn’t expect antisemitism from a guy named Irving! Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, was contacted by the Brooklyn Nets after Kyrie Irving was suspended for highlighting an antisemitic film. In a lengthy interview with The New York Times, Greenblatt said on Thursday that he had spoken with Irving’s relatives, but not the NBA star himself. “I would be willing to sit down with Kyrie this afternoon or at any point in time.” Good luck Jonathan! (New York Times)
  5. ✋  Jews under threat from all sides says FBI Director Christopher Wray – Wray told a Senate hearing on Thursday that the Jewish community is under threat “from all sides” and that “not only have they long been a target of foreign terrorist organizations,” but that Jews are also “the target of domestic violent extremists.” (Algemeiner). Like we didn’t already know it? Still tough to see this coming from the FBI.
  6. The Jews of Patagonia – Yes, you read that right. Patagonia, Argentina’s famously beautiful southern region, has been a haven for Israeli backpackers, vacationers from Buenos Aires and, in the 20th century, Nazi war criminals. What the scenic territory hasn’t had for nearly 40 years is a new synagogue. That has changed in the last year, as a group of Jews living in San Martín de los Andes have inaugurated the first-ever synagogue in their city. The synagogue is just the second Jewish institution in the 400,000-square-mile Patagonia region, and the first new synagogue in all of Argentina in years that is not affiliated with the growing Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox movement. 
  7. World Cup in Qatar: Beer NO, Jews YES (but don’t wear your kipah) – The world cup began this weekend with many reports around corruption and boycotts due to the horrible human rights record of the host country. But Qatar, which does not normally allow Israelis into the country, will permit Israeli visitors during the 2022 World Cup, prompting the Israeli government to warn travelers who make the trip to “downplay” their “Israeli identity.”  As many as 20,000 Israelis are expected to attend beginning Sunday, but unless they are attending in a luxury box, beer has been taken off the menu much to the chagrin of sponsor Budweiser. A little diet pepsi, no ice, however, will be on the menu. 

That’s all folks! Don’t stuff yourselves with too much stuffing! And remember, make good decisions and be safe out there!

Brad out.

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