Shabbat shalom everyone!
It’s Purim week! And I must confess, it’s one of those Jewish holidays that never really caught my attention, until now. It’s very popular in Israel, where there is no halloween equivalent enabling the opportunity to “dress up” and flaunt alter egos. But for some reason, my formal and informal Jewish upbringing did not include a Purim party, at least not to my recollection, a faculty which in my advanced years is admittedly beginning to show signs of oxidation. So, maybe my renewed interest in Purim is due to being slighted all those past years, or maybe it’s the recent revelation to me that according to the Talmud, this is the only Jewish holiday where the rabbis promote drinking alcohol until you can’t tell the difference between Esther, savior of the Jews, or bad guy Haman (clack your groggers!). My own theory on the popularity of the holiday is that hip Jews read the whole Megillah, drink a shot at every mention of Haman, and get so wasted they decide to dress up for synagogue as if attending some sort of “Rocky Horror Purim Show”. Whatever the origin, I will start celebrating this weekend with some home made hamantaschen paired with a fine bottle of Bordeaux from the Galilee wine region.
“A person should drink on Purim until the point where they cannot tell the difference between ‘Blessed is Mordechai’ and ‘Cursed is Haman.’
Talmud-Megillah 7a/Shulchan Aruch
(Code of Jewish Law
Also this week, we learned with verifiable court testimony what we all knew all along anyway: Fox news is far from “Fair and Balanced”, and more like “Fake and Bullshit”. The revelations in the Dominion Voting Systems legal filings demonstrate the full corruption of Fox News and prove the channel has become completely untethered to any standard of integrity and shames the advancement and pursuit of journalistic “Truth”. Its own bias bears no comparison to that of the “mainstream media.” CNN, ABC, and USA Today have their flaws, but at least remain within the bounds of reality. What Fox did is different. They haven’t abandoned the tradition of objective fact in favor of moral or cultural or political bias. As Andrew Sullivan noted so succinctly,
“They still privately believe in empirical reality; they will just happily trash it in public if they think it will lose them viewers and thereby money. The core principle is money. Not truth, money. Not ethics, money. Not even obeying the law. Money. Murdoch’s News Corp. knew full well that hacking people’s phoneswas a crime and the opposite of journalism — but they did it anyway for the money and lied, lied, lied their way through the fallout. Similarly, they knew the 2020 election was no more fraudulent than any other, but lied about it anyway — for the exact same reason: “green.”
Let’s hope Dominion wins their defamation suit and the damages put Fox News and the wrinkled old bastard that owns the place out of business.
The black cloud hovering over Fox News barely hits the radar compared to the shit storm going down in Israel this last week. A few hours after a shooting Sunday that killed two Israeli brothers stopped in traffic in Hawara, a large group of Israeli settlers rampaged through the occupied West Bank town, throwing rocks and setting fires to homes, trees and cars. One Palestinian was shot dead and dozens were wounded. The attacks took place as Israeli and Palestinian officials met in Jordan to deescalate the recent wave of violence. Combined with the massive protests against Bibi’s coalition of crazies effort to ram judicial reforms through the Knesset many believe will lead to the “end of democracy” in Israel, things are pretty tense to say the least. And given the intransigence of Bibi’s coalition on each of the major judicial reform measures, there does not seem to be any offramp for a compromise. Israelis are a tough people, and don’t panic too easily, so let’s hope there is some kind of compromise solution that will help lower the temperature and lead to a more secure normalcy.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff. I hear the clamoring for more carefully curated news items, so on with the show, this week’s smorgasbord of stuff from across the globe!
- Netanyahu compares Tel Aviv protesters to settlers who rampaged Palestinian village – Israelis held a “Day of Disruption” Wednesday, with mass protests across the country over the government’s planned overhaul of the judiciary. Police fired stun grenades, water cannons and tear gas at protesters, and at least 11 were hospitalized and dozens were arrested. In a televised address Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that “foreign elements” were behind the demonstrations but failed to provide evidence. He compared the protesters to the Israeli settlers who torched a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, condemning both with a line from Proverbs: “We will not tolerate a situation in which every man does that which is right in his own eyes.” The speech occurred as protesters surrounded Netanyahu’s wife in a Tel Aviv hair salon. Read the story ➤
- Remember the Alamoshi – Remember the Alamo? The storied battle took place during the Texas war for independence from Mexico. Frontiersman Davy Crockett was among 200 men holed up in an old Spanish mission used as a fort during a 13-day siege by thousands of Mexican soldiers. It ended with a battle on March 6, 1836, that left Crockett and all of his comrades dead. But one man got out alive — or so they say. His name was Louis Moses Rose, and according to some accounts, he was Jewish. But was he? And if he escaped the fate that befell the others, does that make him a survivor — or a coward? Click here for more.
- 🇭🇺 Two peas in a pod? Hungary’s far-right president, Viktor Orban, decided to move his country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in an apparent attempt to curry favor with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hungary would be the first member of the European Union to put its embassy in Jerusalem, following a similar move by the U.S. in 2018. (Times of Israel)
- On Culture: 🎭 Amazon announced the premiere date for the fifth and final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: April 14, the day after Passover. (People)🎭 And speaking of Jewish comedians… Lea Michelle will continue to play Fanny Brice in Broadway’s Funny Girl until the show closes on Sep. 3. A North American tour through 30 cities is set to begin in the fall. (Hollywood Reporter)
- Why are these Israeli protesters dressed up like characters from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’? Because, according to an organizer of the demonstration, proposed laws to expand the power of Israel’s rabbinical courts, would be “a significant blow to women’s rights.” The women join a worldwide trend – demonstrators have donned similar red cloaks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Argentina, Ireland and elsewhere. Read the story ➤
- What’s in a word? Anti-Semitism no more? Dictionary.com joins the Forward in updating spelling to ‘antisemitism’: The website is the latest in a long list to get rid of the hyphen and the capital S. Deborah Lipstadt, the noted Holocaust historian and now ambassador fighting antisemitism, was an early adopter, explaining that “anti-Semitism is not hatred of Semitism or Semites,” which could include a variety of groups. “Antisemitism is Jew-hatred.” When the Forward made the change in 2020, our editor-in-chief noted that “the capitalization implied discrimination against ‘Semitic’ people, a category that does not really exist in any meaningful way in our world.” Read the story ➤
- 👟 Adidas is trying to figure out what to do with $500 million worth of Kanye West-branded ugly-ass sneakers, after it cut ties with him over his antisemitic tirades. The company was going to rebrand the shoes but worried about a possible backlash. A new option being considered? Burning them all. (Washington Post)
That’s all for the week folks. If you intend to drink yourself into a Purim haze this weekend, make sure you do it safely! And hey, let’s be careful out there.