Food and Football

Today on Tablet

Robert Kraft with an employee, Tom Brady, last year.(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Contributing editor Joan Nathan is encroaching on my beat! In her Thanksgiving-themed essay on the importance of tradition in cuisine today in Tablet Magazine, she reports on various dishes served by two friends: Myra Kraft, the wife of Bob Kraft, who owns football’s New England Patriots; and Annette Lerner, wife of Ted Lerner, who owns baseball’s Washington Nationals. The Lerners, who are observant Jews, do not attend Friday-night home games. But as for Thanksgiving, I have a guess as to where the Krafts will be enjoying Myra Kraft’s brisket and tsimmes: Detroit, where the Pats will be playing the Lions in the Detroit squad’s traditional Thanksgiving Day 1 pm slot.

Family Ties

Ailes Apologizes to Foxman; Controversy Is Over

ADL director eagerly accepts grudging ‘I’m sorry’

Abraham Foxman.(Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

It doesn’t matter that Fox News head Roger Ailes called NPR “Nazis.” Why? Because he apologized to Abraham Foxman! Per a press release we got:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accepted an apology from Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel, for his use of the expression “Nazi attitudes” in an interview to describe officials at National Public Radio.

In a letter to Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, Mr. Ailes wrote that he was sorry for using the term “Nazi” in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I was of course ad-libbing and should not have chosen that word,” he wrote, “but I was angry at the time because of NPR’s willingness to censor Juan Williams for not being liberal enough.”

(Actually, not to nit-pick, but Ailes did more than “use the expression ‘Nazi attitudes’”—he actually said of NPR, “They are, of course, Nazis.”)

My parents used to tell me that when you apologize but add a “but,” you are basically negating the apology. Oh well: “I welcome Roger Ailes’s apology, which is as sincere as it is heartfelt,” Foxman said. (As it happens, I too believe that Ailes’s apology was exactly as sincere as it was heartfelt.)

All this may turn out moot: The soon-to-be Republican House Majority is planning to defund NPR. Which means you should enjoy the awesome Twitter #NPRGoesNazi hashtag—Goerring Edition; Morning Becomes “Night”; This American Life, No Longer With The Jew Ira Glass—while you can.

Earlier: Fox News Head Called NPR ‘Nazis’

The Semi-Jewish Poet

Today on Tablet


Today in Tablet Magazine, poetry critic David Kaufmann considers the latest poetry of C.K. Williams and whether, when it comes to one’s Jewishness, “the important thing is not a person’s identity but his or her identifications.”

View from the Bridge

Fox News Head Calls NPR ‘Nazis’

The things he said today

Roger Ailes in 2005.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images for U.S. News and World Report)

Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel, to Daily Beast reporter Howard Kurtz:

On NPR: “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.”

On Glenn Beck’s documentary about George Soros: “His point wasn’t really about Nazis or the Holocaust, more about the character of George Soros. … [there are some] left-wing rabbis who basically don’t think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air.”

On Abraham Foxman: “If he has a problem with Glenn Beck, he ought to man up, come on and talk to him about it.”

On Jon Stewart: “He makes a living by attacking conservatives and stirring up a liberal base against it. He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It’d be a bomb. … don’t give me a social speech on the steps of the Washington Monument. Don’t lapse into non-comedy.” (Hey, Mr. Ailes, I agree!)

On Fox News: “With the country in the trouble it’s in, it’s important to stay in the debate and make sure the information is getting out.”

Roger Ailes Lets Rip [The Daily Beast]
Fox News Chief Blasts NPR ‘Nazis’ [The Daily Beast]

Before the Lebanese Flood

Today on Tablet


Today in Tablet Magazine, Hanin Ghaddar reports from Lebanon’s south, where Shia residents not especially inclined toward the de facto sovereign, Hezbollah, worry what will happen then the U.N. tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri issues its indictments.

Southern Exposure

The Threat Behind the Freeze Deal

Why the carrots are really sticks

(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

In a parenthetical aside I wish I had pursued further, a couple days ago, examining the United States’s proposal to offer Israel aid and security guarantees in exchange for a 90-day extension of the construction freeze, I wrote, “(Israel was probably due for a military upgrade for Iran-related reasons anyway).” Today, Gershom Gorenberg devotes most of a column to an insightful rereading of the deal: Starting from the point that the things that U.S. is offering are things they probably would have offered anyway, he comes to the conclusion: “The carrots are really sticks.” (more…)

Art Predicts Life

Today on Tablet


Boris Fishman reveals today in Tablet Magazine that he has been writing a novel about a failed magazine writer who files phony Holocaust-restitution claims on behalf of old Soviet immigrants: A plot that uncannily anticipated last week’s news of the $42-million defrauding of two German reparations funds.

While acknowledging, “The law is the law; the Holocaust-fund suspects should be prosecuted,” Fishman asks us (much as all fiction does) to empathize with the accused perpetrators, most of whom are Soviet Jewish immigrants living in America:

The poison inside the people who allegedly defrauded the Holocaust fund would be inside you, too, if you had lived as Jews in the Soviet Union. Whatever their sins, these people are heroes, too, for having survived it. The struggle to defeat its legacy requires a daily application of conscience and will, even for members of my generation.

Old Ways

Jewishness Raised in Texas Speaker Race

Call for ‘Christians and true Conservatives’ instead of Straus

Speaker Joe Straus.(Texas House of Representatives)

Troubling news from the Lone Star State, as opponents of Joe Straus, the Republican current speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, are sending mass emails arguing that the House leader ought to be someone from the ranks of “Christians and true Conservatives.” One adds, “Joe Straus is pro-abortion. In fact, his rabbi sits on the board of San Antonio Planned Parenthood.” Straus fired back yesterday; an ally called for an end to “religious bigotry” in the race.

So it seems ugly. But aren’t we burying the lede? Isn’t the real story that the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is a pro-choice Jewish Republican? Does Kinky Friedman know about this?

In Texas Race, Foes of Speaker Stressing His Jewishness [JTA]
Use of Religion Criticized in Texas Speaker’s Race [AP/Austin American-Statesman]

Daybreak: Crossing the Ts on the Freeze

Plus a closer look at the Ghajar withdrawal, and more in the news

Ghajar.(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images))

• A senior U.S. official promised that the United States is writing up a formal letter delineating the new freeze extension deal. [JPost]

• Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to cut his own deal to get Interior Minister Eli Yishai, of Shas, to okay the extension and Defense Minister Barak, of Labor, to okay the approval of certain units after the new freeze would expire. [Ynet]

• A closer look at the implications of Israeli’s planned and approved withdrawal from the Lebanese village of Ghajar, which is near the Golan and occupied primarily by members of the Alawite sect, whose members rule nearby Syria. [NYT]

• The U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staffs insisted that Iran policy consists of “dialogue, engagement, and sanctions,” and that military action is in only some distant future, if at all. [JTA]

• There have been allegations that German government policy favors Liberal (i.e., Reform) Judaism over the Orthodox. [NYT]

• Um, the Steven Rosen vs. AIPAC lawsuit … depicted in anime. [Capitol J]

Sundown: Top Terrorist Killed

Plus Morton Klein piles on Soros, and more

Islam Yasin’s former car.(Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

• Islam Yasin, a senior operative in the Gaza-based Army of Islam, was killed in an Israeli Air Force attack in Gaza City today. Yasin was reportedly plotting to kidnap Israeli tourists in the Sinai. [JTA]

• Residents of Ghajar, the disputed town on the Israel-Lebanon border, want the IDF, which is set to vacate, to stay. [Haaretz]

• Breaking: Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America likes to second-guess the behavior of teenage Jewish boys during the Holocaust. [JustASC]

• An interesting quote from Hannah Rosenthal, the Obama administration’s anti-Semitism envoy, on the connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. [Goldblog]

• The fall-out from Wire creator David Simon’s speech at the General Assembly, in which he complained that Jewish institutions are not doing enough to halt the “Holocaust in slow motion” in black urban communities, has been mostly (and predictably) critical. [NY Jewish Week]

• “I’m going to Graceland”? Paul Simon to release an album of Christmas jingles. [Jewcy]

And now, an ostrich and a baby giraffe playing tag.

Cropping Out the Truth

A closer reading of Ernest Coles

An Ernest Cole photograph.(The Ernest Cole Family Trust/Hasselblad Foundation Collection/NYT)

The Times just posted a fascinating story about Ernest Coles, the under-appreciated photographer of apartheid South Africa whose work is being rediscovered. The article notes the reaction of famed South African photographer Stephen Goldblatt to seeing the whole collection:

Later, when he carefully studied scans of them at his home in Johannesburg, Mr. Goldblatt, now 80, said he began to realize that many of the photographs in “House of Bondage” had been cropped severely to enhance their impact in a powerful anti-apartheid polemic. But the full frames showed Mr. Cole’s artistry.

Now where have I heard this before? Oh, right:

Vishniac released, over the course of a five-decade career, an uncommonly small selection of his work for public consumption—so small, in fact, that it did not include many of his finest images, artistically speaking. Instead the chosen images were, in the main, those that advanced an impression of the shtetl as populated largely by poor, pious, embattled Jews—an impression aided by cropping and fabulist captioning done by his own hand. … Vishniac, who often strained to present himself as superior to others, in fact never showed the world some of his best work.

Homecoming for Photos of Apartheid [NYT]
Related: A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac [NYT Magazine]
Out of Focus [Tablet Magazine]

Porn Heats Up AIPAC Lawsuit

And former bigwig promises it will get hotter


The American Israel Political Action Committee probably isn’t the Zionist organization most would associate with prostitution, sexual experimentation, and pornography (Hadassah always seemed a bit wild to me), but, according to this 260-page deposition that has been released by AIPAC, in response to former employee Steve Rosen’s $20 million civil defamation law suit. (The man formerly accused of leaking classified national security documents says his former employer defamed his character.)

Under questioning from AIPAC’s lawyers, Rosen, the former director of foreign policy, admitted to checking out pornographic Websites at work; described the subjects which intrigued him (“Anything that occurred to me”); and confessed to looking for a male companion through Craigslist. (more…)

Harry Potter Died Here

Photo of the day


Via Andrew Silow-Carroll, the town of Ramle, in central Israel, has become something of a tourist attraction for the tombstone, below, in its British military cemetery.

Moti Milrod/AP/July 20, 2007

In Drab Israeli Town, Harry Potter’s Grave Beckons Tourists To Make Unusual Pilgrimage [AP/Pix]

Hanukkah Is Only Two Weeks Away!

Today on Tablet


Today in Tablet Magazine, we get you ready for this year’s early Hanukkah with a collection of prior pieces we have published about the holiday. Naturally, look for brand-new stuff in the next two weeks as well.

Hanukkah 2010

The Great Intern Search

Apply to work at Tablet Magazine


Tablet Magazine is looking for interns for our spring term, which runs from the beginning of the new year through May.

If you have experience in journalism and are familiar with the landscape of American Jewish life, we’d love to hear from you. We are hiring interns to work either two or three days a week at our office in New York City. Interns will contribute blog posts and full features as well as assist the editorial staff with research and administrative tasks. They will be paid stipends. If you’re interested, please send a cover letter, a résumé, and three writing clips to, by Friday, December 3. We look forward to hearing from you.

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