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Daybreak: Leaks Show Bibi Supports Swaps

Plus A’jad admits sabotage, blames U.S., and more in the news

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Secretary of State Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this month.(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

• In early 2009, a WikiLeaks cable revealed, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wants land swaps and does not want to govern the West Bank in a final resolution. [Haaretz]

• Of course, that and all other leaked documents are in fact deliberate artifacts of American psychological warfare, if you ask President Ahmadinejad. [NYT]

• A’jad did finally acknowledge that computer code did “limited” harm to Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts. [Reuters/Haaretz]

• Iran will hold talks next week in Geneva with diplomats from the so-called P5+1 group, including the United States. Diplomacy lives! [Laura Rozen]

• More information on yesterday’s bombing of two Iranian nuclear scientists, which killed one: They both participated in a U.N.-backed, Jordan-based particle physics project that Israel is also a member of. So was the Iranian scientist killed earlier this year. [LAT]

• According to the leaks, Americans were upset not only with Turkish-Israeli animosity but with how Turkish foreign policy went against its own. [LAT]

Sundown: Israel’s Ailes

Plus deli’s Old Country, and more

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Sheldon Adelson last summer.(Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

The Wikileaks stuff pushed our NFL coverage until tomorrow. In the meantime, felicitations to Coach Marc Trestman and his Montreal Alouettes, who won their second straight Grey Cup yesterday.

• How American billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has created Israel’s Fox News. [Politico]

• Deli expert David Sax travels to Eastern Europe, his subject’s ancestral homeland. [Saveur]

• So does this mean Arab leaders are neocons? Shattered paradigms are hard to cope with! [Jeffrey Goldberg]

• The HinJew trend becomes real as Israel and India ink a free-trade deal. [Ynet]

• Director Irvin Kershner, whose films included The Empire Strikes Back, died at 87. Like Han to Boba Fett, he was worth the most to us alive. [Arts Beat]

• “No Need To Kvetch, Yiddish Lives on in Catskills.” Some of these headlines are unimprovable. [NYT]

Frank Black of the Pixies wrote the score to the silent film The Golem. Below: My favorite Pixies song, “Debaser.”

We Lie

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Mideast columnist Lee Smith argues that the WikiLeaks revelations show that American officials publicly discuss regional geopolitics in ways contrary to what they say in private.

Another Way for ‘Another Time, Another Way’

Remixing our own Yiddish

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(Brian Scott/Boondesign)

Our Hanukkah remix album is getting a lot of love—except from one exacting reader, who did not approve of its title. As Marc Weidenbaum explained in the liner notes, he arrived at that title, Anander Mol, Anander Veig, this way:

As the project was nearing completion, I got in touch with a wise friend, one who knows far more Yiddish than I do—which is to say, he knows more than just words involving disappointment, food, bodily functions, and relatives. I asked my friend, “How would you say ‘remix’ in Yiddish?” Being wise, he thought better than to come up with a new word; he thought better than to reply with some snazzy neologism, some antiquated-sounding yet entirely newly created term, some ersatz steampunk Yiddish.

Instead, he sent me a steady stream of short phrases, each an attempt to probe, in Yiddish, what a remix is at its heart. The best of his probings, “anander mol, anander veig,” became the title of this set. It means, in a literal translation, “another time, another way”—old ways, reconsidered; old modes, remodeled; old music, remade.

But, in fact, as our esteemed columnist Eddy Portnoy explained this morning, we may have done a little too much remixing. “For a correct translation of ‘another time, another way,’ the title should read, ‘An andere tsayt, an anderer oyfn,’” he wrote. “The way you have it is ‘another instance, another road.’ I guess that works metaphorically, but it’s not correct in Yiddish. Worst-case scenario, leave it as is, but at least split the indirect articles from the adjectives.”

Well, we’re in the worst-case scenario. We can’t change it at this point, but we admit the misstep. Are there even more alternatives, budding and seasoned Yiddish speakers? Leave them in the comments!

Anander Mol, Anander Veig

Flotillas Before the Flotilla

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Josh Lambert offers his weekly round-up of forthcoming Jewish books of interest.

On the Bookshelf

Sotheby’s To Auction Historic Jewish Collection

Without a buyer, sale will have no preconditions

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The Valmadonna library.(Sotheby’s)

It’s been nearly two years since Sotheby’s announced the auction of one of the world’s greatest private collections of Hebraica: The Valmadonna Trust Library, an assemblage of more than 12,000 extremely rare Hebrew manuscripts and printed books, including a complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud previously owned by Westminster Abbey. This morning, Sotheby’s vice-chairman David Redden confirmed to Tablet Magazine that the auction house has quietly opened a sealed-bid auction, closing December 16, with a minimum asking price of $25 million—a potentially hefty discount from Sotheby’s earlier $30-50 million estimate of the library’s value. As currently offered, the library will be sold without any pre-conditions or covenants requiring that the library be kept intact or put on public display “I’m extremely hopeful,” Redden said in a phone call. “I think the way in which one is approaching this is extremely realistic.”

This sell-first approach marks a distinct strategic shift when it comes to the Valmadonna, whose creator, a London industrial-diamond dealer and bibliophile named Jack Lunzer, has spent the better part of the last decade trying quixotically to close a deal with the Library of Congress. Lunzer told me last year that he was hoping to rekindle interest from the institution, which would have offered the collection, and the record of European Jewish history that it embodies, pride of place in Washington, D.C. Above all, he was anxious to see his baby find a new home before his death, and to keep it intact. “Après moi, le déluge,” he told me. (more…)

Ingall’s Newbery

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Today in Tablet Magazine, parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall follows up last week’s list of the best Jewish children’s picture books of the year with a list of the best Jewish children’s non-picture books of the year.

Children of the Book

Jewish Bowling Poetry? Jewish Bowling Poetry

Haikus and limericks and winners

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Last week, we asked you to write a Jewish bowling haiku or limerick for a chance to win three pairs of tickets to Festival of Strikes, the JDub Records’s party tomorrow night at Brooklyn Bowl (co-sponsored by Tablet Magazine). And, well, three of you responded, so you are the winners! Fortunately, this doesn’t just feel like a default decision: The poems are funny. All can read them below. And Melanie, sophie, and Frank: Email dklein@tabletmag.com by tomorrow night to get on the list. (more…)

For Bibi and Israel, Vindication

Leaks confirm that Iran and Turkey unite it with others

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Prime Minister Netanyahu enjoys his coffee yesterday.(Gali Tibbon - pool/Getty Images)

There is no country that should feel more vindicated by the Wikileaks revelations than Israel. “More and more countries realize that Iran is the central threat, but the countries in the region have a gap because they publicly are attached to the Israeli-Arab conflict,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday. “They realize that the central threat is from Iran and now this has been revealed even though it was known. It can eliminate the theory that Israel is the obstacle to peace and show that we have mutual interests.” As Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz reported, “It would not be an exaggeration to say that WikiLeaks may have done the country a service.”

But not only regarding Iran! The leaks show that U.S. diplomats are nearly as wary of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Israel is; that Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are hardly more on the side of Hamas in Gaza as Israel is; and that countries in the region perceive the U.S.-Israeli special alliance as a reason to cozy up to Israel in order to gain influence with America. In short, it is Iran, and not the peace process, that is the dominant issue for both Israeli and Arab leaders, and they are therefore more inclined to see eye-to-eye.

Meanwhile, even as embarassing details surfaced about Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and other foreign leaders, Israeli leaders largely escaped this fate. Maybe they saw the American quietly taking notes at the conference table and decided to hold their tongues? And as for Mossad chief Meir Dagan, it quickly becomes clear that he is one of the most respected advisers in the world, “sought after,” according to Katz, “by almost every senior U.S. official visiting Israel.” (more…)

Songs in the Key of Hanukkah

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Monday’s usual Vox Tablet podcast comes with full musical accompaniment. It would admittedly be pretty cruel to give you Marc Weidenbaum discussing Anander Mol Anander Veig, an album of original Jewish-themed, Hanukkah-inspired remixes that he curated, without also letting you hear the album itself. Which is why, today on Tablet Magazine, it’s available, for free, for listening and downlading.

Below: My favorite track, the Fourth Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra’s rendition of “Ose Shalom,” as remixed by Diego Bernal.

Another Way
Anander Mol Anander Veig

Iran Is Better-Armed Than We Thought

Leaks also confirm that Arab states favor bombing

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month.(Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

The headline of the relevant New York Times article is, “Around the World, Distress Over Iran.” Well, duh. But we should pay attention nonetheless.

The quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables leaked through the Wikileaks organization and published yesterday in several newspapers mostly revealed that our worst fears, grounded in things we already knew, are shared by State Department professionals privy to non-public information (although over half of the leaked cables were not classified). They are the geopolitical equivalent of Kinsley gaffes, slip-ups embarassing precisely because they confirm what people already thought to be true.

The Times’s lead bulletpoint, for instance, describes U.S. concerns that Pakistan has enriched uranium that could be used to make illicit weapons for very bad people. Well, we knew Pakistan was a nuclear state; that the father of the Pakistani bomb, A.Q. Khan, is the world’s worst individual proliferator; that Pakistan maintains alliances with radical Islamic groups (like the one that murdered hundreds in Mumbai). So this new tidbit, of “a dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel,” is scary, but it is not shocking.

Or as Laura Rozen put it, “The classified diplomatic discussions on Iran revealed in the cables are not all that different from what one would expect from following the public comments senior U.S. officials have made on the Iran issue the last several months.” I will address other revelations, including ones touching on the Mideast peace process, Egypt, and Turkey, in a future post. The Iran stuff has been among the most buzzed-about. (more…)

Daybreak: Iran Scientist Assassinated

Plus the leaks, the reactor, the Wall, and more in the news

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The car of the injured scientist in Tehran.(-/AFP/Getty Images)

• An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed and another injured in bomb attacks this morning in Tehran. [WP]

• We now know a lot more about current diplomacy. Among the things we know: Arab states have been pushing America to bomb Iran. Much more later. [NYT]

• Iran announced that its first nuclear reactor, at Bushehr, will go online in late January. [JTA]

• Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” was shaken up by a Palestinian Authority paper’s denial that the Western Wall had a legitimate connection to Jewish history, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s retort. [NYT]

• How Saad Hariri has held onto power in Lebanon even as future indictments in his father’s killing threaten to prompt instability or a coup. Namely: By kissing up to Syria and Iran. [WP]

• Irene Klass, who published The Jewish Press, died at 94. [JTA]

Sundown: Talking and Eating Turkey

Plus Israel takes a breather on Iran, and more

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Yum.(Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving! Tablet Magazine and The Scroll will not be publishing new content until Monday. Maybe the long weekend is a good time to reacquaint yourselves with our Turkey Week?

• Speaking of! Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan thinks the U.N. tribunal probing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination should postpone its indictments for a year lest its findings lead Hezbollah to be startin’ something. [JPost]

• As of now, Israel’s top strategy vis-à-vis Iran is to convince the United States to take a harder line, not to prepare for its own military action. [Politico]

• Murdoch, Cheney, oil, and Israel: What could possibly go wrong? [Fast Company]

• Tablet Magazine books critic Adam Kirsch considers Günter Grass’s novelistic memoir The Box. [Slate]

• Matisyahu loves Reb Nachman (who is the subject of Rodger Kamenetz’s Nextbook Press book). [New Voices]

• Contributing editor Joan Nathan on young Jews cooking hardcore Ashkenazic dishes. Cholent-chic! [NYT]

So this is why peace is impossible.

This Year in New York

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Jeannie Rosenfeld reviews the much-buzzed-about new New York show from German artist Anselm Kiefer entitled “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Kiefer’s Other Land

Remixing Hanukkah

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(Eric Molinsky)

For those of you who are faithful (or even semi-faithful) listeners of our weekly Vox Tablet podcast, this music ought to sound weirdly familiar.

It is the Vox Tablet theme song, originally composed by Jewlia Eisenberg and re-conceived here by remix masters Cedar AV. They did it on assignment from Marc Weidenbaum, founder of the popular music and sound blog Disquiet, who himself took on a much more ambitious assignment from Tablet Magazine: Commission eight songs for a Hanukkah remix album. The results are in, and we’ll be posting the album for free download on Monday. Plus, also on Monday, Vox Tablet’s Sara Ivry interviews Weidenbaum about the project. Get psyched!

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