Israel Sports Win Prompts Anti-Semitic Tweets

Nearly 18,000 Twitter insults posted after Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague win

Maccabi Tel Aviv players celebrate in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on May 19, 2014, following their victory over Real Madrid in the Euroleague 2014 Final Four basketball match in Milan, Italy. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s unexpected victory over Read Madrid in the championship of the Euroleague Final Four basketball tournament this weekend was met with revelry in Israel—and vitriol online. A deluge of anti-Semitic comments hit the Twittersphere in response to the team’s win in Milan, the New York Times reports, with a whopping 18,000 tweets posted to the social networking site believed to be from Real Madrid fans angry about their team’s loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Jewish organizations in Spain have requested a formal investigation into the comments and have filed a compliant against five Twitter users whose full names are associated with their accounts. (more…)

Germany Identifies 20 Former Majdanek Guards

Probe into 1,000 former guards reveals nearly two dozen still alive in Germany

Majdanek concentration camp. (Patryk Kosmider /

In the latest German probe into Nazi concentration camp guards, investigators have identified 20 suspected former guards at Majdanek who are still alive and living in Germany. The Associated Press reports that the results of the investigation by Germany’s special Nazi war crimes office into more 1,000 former guards at the concentration camp would be handed over to state investigators.

Lead investigator Thomas Will told The Associated Press that about 30 suspects were identified and located, but around ten had already died. The remaining 20 men and women all live in Germany, he said, but refused to elaborate further.

Some 220 others are still being investigated for possible charges but have not been located.

It’s not up to state investigators to decide whether or not to press charges. (more…)

Shimon Peres To Get Gold Medal From Congress

Becomes one of nine people to win the U.S.’s two highest civilian honors

President Barack Obama presents Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom June 13, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that would award Shimon Peres the Congressional Gold Medal, JTA reports. The Israeli president will join the ranks of only nine others to win both the Congressional and Presidential medals, the two highest U.S. civilian honors.

The bill was sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet and Kelly Ayotte in the Senate and Representatives Trent Franks and Joe Kennedy in the House. (more…)

Strauss-Kahn Sues Film Producer For Defamation

Welcome to New York depicts disgraced IMF chief as boozy, bloated predator

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Dominique Strauss-Kahn enters Manhattan State Supreme Court with his wife Anne Sinclair on August 23, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In 2011, a New York judge dismissed sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former director of the International Monetary Fund, several months after a maid at the Sofitel hotel accused him of rape. Now DSK, as he’s widely known, is enmeshed in another legal battle: he’s suing the director Abel Ferrara for defamation.

Ferrara’s lurid new movie Welcome to New York, starring Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset, premiered at Cannes on Saturday to what seems to have been, on balance, a more disgusted than titillated audience (though who can tell the difference anymore). The film is clearly based on the DSK scandal, with Bisset playing Strauss-Kahn’s billionaire wife Anne Sinclair. Ferrara, who is most famous for 1992′s Bad Lieutenant, includes de rigueur scenes depicting DSK’s well-rumored escapades (orgies, bondage, etc.), but he also, shockingly, shows the Dépardieu character sexually assaulting a maid in a hotel. And according to Le Figaro’s Sorin Etienne, Welcome to New York has no shortage of anti-Semitic innuendo. Etienne charged that the film “confounds Jews, power and money” in an article titled “The Foul Anti-Semitism of Welcome to New York.” (more…)

Israel Spent $1,250 To Lobby America in 2013

New study shows other countries spend much more on influencing America

U.S. Capitol Building, Washington D.C. (Shutterstock)

If you estimated the amount of money a country spends on lobbying the United States based on critical media coverage of that lobbying, you’d probably put Israel at the top of the list. But a new study by the Sunlight Foundation reveals that not only isn’t Israel a big spender, it practically doesn’t even make the list. Of the 84 countries surveyed, Israel ranked 83rd, spending just $1,250 to lobby America in 2013. (The only country that ranked lower was Mali, which spent nothing at all.) By contrast, other key American allies unloaded massive sums to influence the U.S. government. Topping the list is the United Arab Emirates with $14.2 million. It is followed by Germany ($12 million), Canada ($11.2 million), and Saudi Arabia ($11.1 million).

Why doesn’t Israel spend comparable amounts–or even a fraction of that–to lobby the American government? (more…)

Museum in Elie Wiesel’s Pre-War Home Expands

New ‘Holocaust Cellar’ is the first public learning center of its kind in Romania

Elie Wiesel’s Childhood home in Sighet, Romania, which is now a museum. (Marc Israel Sellem)

A new Holocaust learning center opened in Elie Wiesel’s childhood home in Sighet, Romania on Sunday. The “Holocaust Cellar” is the latest addition to the Holocaust museum housed in the Wiesel home, which is located in the courtyard of Sighet’s old Jewish ghetto where thousands of Jews once lived. The first of its kind in Romania, the Sighet public learning center will focus on the 13,000 local Jews who died in the Holocaust.

On Sunday, an opening ceremony for the learning center was held as the first of a series of events commemorating 70 years since the expulsion of the last Northern Transylvanian Jews to Auschwitz. A number of Jewish organizations collaborated with the Government of Romania and the City of Sighet to sponsor the event, which drew Romanian religious and political leaders to celebrate the center’s inauguration. (more…)

Welcoming Mark Oppenheimer

The New York Times columnist will be our guest editor-in-chief this summer


Dear Tablet Readers,

I’m having a baby, which turns out to be very good news—for you.

From July to September, Mark Oppenheimer, longtime contributor to and friend of Tablet Magazine, will serve as guest editor-in-chief while I take my maternity leave. I’m sure you all know and read Mark, but his biography is enough of its own delight that it warrants repeating. Mark writes a biweekly column about religion for the New York Times and a monthly column about fatherhood for The New Republic, and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, Salon, Slate, Mother Jones, The Nation, and elsewhere. He is also, not irrelevantly, the former editor of the New Haven Advocate—so he knows something about running a journalistic staff. (more…)

Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins Euroleague Basketball

Israeli fans celebrate in Milan as team upsets favorite Real Madrid in overtime

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Guy Pnini holds the trophy as the Israeli basketball team arrives at Ben Gurion airport, on May 19, 2014 after winning the Euroleague 2014 Final Four basketball match against Real Madrid. (Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins Euroleague Basketball)

The Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team returned to Israel today after an astounding victory at the Euroleague basketball final in Milan. In an overtime upset on Sunday night, Maccabi unexpectedly defeated Real Madrid, JTA reports. Many of the approximately 10,000 Israelis who flew to Italy for the game celebrated the 98-86 victory in the streets of Milan, and revelers took to the streets in Israel as well, flooding Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. Thousands more headed to the airport Monday afternoon to greet the returning champions. (more…)

Rapper Macklemore Performs in Fake Hook Nose

‘Thrift Shop’ singer says it was a silly costume and he didn’t mean to offend

A costumed Macklemore performs at the opening night of 'Spectacle: The Music Video' exhibition at EMP Museum on May 16, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Suzi Pratt/FilmMagic)

Last year over the holidays, my sister and her husband vacationed with his entire family at a Club Med in Mexico. For a fun-filled week they swam and snorkeled and basked in the sun, surrounded by their loved ones, although my sister noticed that whenever her husband appeared on the scene, the staff would act a little odd, staring, whispering behind their hands. On the last day of the trip, one of the waiters in the main dining room approached my brother-in-law shyly and furtively. “Excuse me, sir,” he said, “but we’ve all be wondering all week long, and before you leave you have to tell us: Are you Macklemore?”

I’m telling you this story not to brag that my sister is married to Macklemore (she isn’t) but merely to prove that Macklemore probably doesn’t really need to make any special effort to pass for a nice Jewish boy. Clearly nobody told him this, however, and despite his assertion that he has “hella good Jewish homies,” he nevertheless donned a fake hook nose, black wig, and false beard to play a secret show in Seattle last Friday, cutting a figure that above-mentioned Jewish homies might find just a bissel offensive. When confronted by the angry online mob, Macklemore claimed it was just a silly costume, and he never meant to upset anyone. (more…)

Nearly 75 Percent of French Jews Considering Emigration

New survey presents bleak portrait of contemporary anti-Semitism in France

Rue des Rosiers, the Jewish area of the Marais district in Paris.(MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

A new survey reveals that nearly three quarters of French Jews are considering leaving the country. JTA reports that 74 percent of the 3,833 French Jews polled by Paris’ Siona organization of Sephardic French Jews said they had considered emigrating. Their responses present a fairly bleak portrait of the contemporary reality for France’s Jewish community.

Of the 74.2 percent of respondents who said they are considering leaving, 29.9 percent cited anti-Semitism. Another 24.4 cited their desire to “preserve their Judaism,” while 12.4 percent said they were attracted by other countries. “Economic considerations” was cited by 7.5 percent of the respondents.

In total, 95.2 percent of all respondents to the online survey conducted by Siona from April 17 to May 16 said they viewed anti-Semitism as “very worrisome” or “worrisome.”

Jews in France aren’t just considering leaving—they’re doing so in droves, often to Israel. (more…)

Supreme Court Corrects Kagan Dissent

The original text misidentified America’s first Jewish community


Earlier this month, the Supreme Court upheld the right of legislatures to open with sectarian religious prayer in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. In the aftermath of that decision, much attention was given to Justice Elena Kagan’s spirited dissent, in which she invoked her Jewish heritage to argue against permitting the prayers, citing the famous story of George Washington’s visit to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island. But as I noted at the time, Kagan made a small miscue in her Jewish history lesson: she labeled Newport as “the first community of American Jews,” when that honor in fact belongs to New Amsterdam (today’s New York), where Jews settled in 1654.

Our post on the mistake was picked up by a variety of legal blogs, including Religion Clause and The Volokh Conspiracy. The information was also provided to the clerks’ office at the high court itself. It appears that the Supreme Court got the message, because over the weekend, it corrected Kagan’s dissent. (more…)

Showtime Buys Series About An Ultra-Orthodox Comedian

New comedy depicts an aspiring stand-up leaving his Brooklyn community

Hasidic Jews walk across the Williamsburg Bridge on Rosh Hashanah. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Showtime has nabbed a new comedy series about a Jewish comedian. But not just any Seinfeld or Samberg—this time it’s an ultra-Orthodox aspiring stand-up who steps outside his close-knit Williamsburg community to try and make it as a New York City comic.

Deadline reports that the Homeland network bought the development rights for Yank, a half-hour show from Sex and the City writers Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg, which will follow a young man as he leaves his Hasidic enclave for Manhattan’s comedy clubs while still trying to remain part of the community. (more…)

About Those Criticisms Leveled at Jill Abramson

Ousted Times executive editor was too ‘pushy’ and talked about money. Oy.

Jill Abramson. (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times, via Redux)

Media types and those who are interested in them know there’s only been one (non-elevator-related) story of import this week, and that is the unceremonious firing of Jill Abramson from the executive editorship of the New York Times, the first female in the paper’s storied history ever to occupy that estimable post.

The relationship between Abramson and Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr, the publisher of the Times, has long been known to be contentious, with clashes over her often brusque management style, but the first leaks (chronicled first and most thoroughly by Ken Auletta at The New Yorker) suggested that the straw that broke the camel’s back was Abramson’s discovery of, and subsequent attempt to correct, what appeared to be a significant disparity in pay between herself and her male predecessors (i.e., they were making more, if that isn’t immediately obvious). Whether this was really true is up for debate—the Times has since released a flurry of figures supporting their argument that Abramson acted in error—but Abramson found it convincing enough to hire a lawyer. (more…)

Nextbook Press Authors in the News

New books and events from contributors to the Jewish Encounters Series


A number of our contributors are in the news for having published new books, and some will be participating in public programs to promote them over the next few weeks; it’s our pleasure to bring them to your attention:

Hillel Halkin, who contributed Yehuda Halevi to Nextbook’s Jewish Encounters series, has written an erudite biography of Vladimir Jabotinsky (Jabotinsky: A Life) for Yale University Press’s Jewish Lives series, which hits the shelves on May 27. (more…)

NYC Cabbie Suspended For Swastika Armband

Deranged driver will lose his operator’s license for 30 days

NYC cab driver photographed wearing swastika armband. (ADL)

A New York City cab driver has been suspended for 30 days for wearing a swastika armband while driving his yellow cab. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission questioned the cabbie after the Anti-Defamation League reported complaints from riders.

According to a press release from the ADL commending the TLC’s swift response, “After receiving complaints from the public, ADL expressed concern to the TLC, which subsequently suspended the driver’s operator’s license for 30 days after he pleaded guilty to violating commission rules.” (more…)

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