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Sundown: Undercover Jews

Plus Franco’s complicity, and more

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Generalissimo Francisco Franco in 1969.(Wikipedia)

• The acting mayor of Amsterdam—the former mayor, Job Cohen, is currently leading his party in upcoming elections—is considering a plan to dress policemen up as Jews as a way to bait and then arrest perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts. The city apparently already dresses policemen up as old people and gay men for similar purposes. [Dutch News]

• A recently published document shows that in 1941 Spanish dictator Francisco Franco ordered underlings to create a list of 6,000 Spanish and foreign-born Jews to be handed over to the Nazis. I asked the Generalissimo for comment, but he responded with total, complete silence. [Ynet]

• Large majorities of the House and Senate have signed the AIPAC-endorsed (and J Street-challenged) letters backing Israel’s Gaza blockade. [Ben Smith]

• UC-Berkeley will soon be home to a major collection of Jewish art, music, and rare documents. [UC-Berkeley]

• Brazil, which had joined Turkey in opposing Iran sanctions in the U.N. Security Council, says now it is backing away from its more pronounced stance. [Haaretz]

• Tablet Magazine contributing editor Ben Greenman reads in Brooklyn tonight. [Greenlight Bookstore]

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) won’t be giving Drake a run for his money as the best Jewish hip-hop act anytime soon:

Celebrity Rabbi Maybe Related to Death

Hasidic real estate maven committed suspicious suicide

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Solomon Obstfeld, an ultra-religious Bobover Hasid, jumped to his death at the Jumeirah Essex Hotel on Central Park South a couple weeks ago. Obstfeld’s death was ruled a suicide, though his family claims he had a heart attack (suicide is illegal under Jewish law). It is coming out that Obstfeld had been attempting to sell his Essex House pad for $6.5 million, and that he had entered into a disagreement over the lease to a different Essex House property with Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, a kabbalist descended from a venerable Moroccan rabbinic family who has been something of a New York City-based rabbi to the minor stars as well as, maybe, a somewhat sketchy businessman.

Why Pinto? Because I am really mature, here’s why.

Questions Raised About Brooklyn Investor’s Suicide at Essex House [The Real Deal]

Rubashkin Gets 27 Years

Meat-packing owner, 51, was convicted of financial fraud

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The Iowa Agriprocessors plant.(Wikipedia)

Not two weeks after being cleared of a slew of child labor charges, Sholom Rubashkin, the ultra-Orthodox owner of the Agriprocessors Glatt kosher meat-packing plant in Postville, Iowa, has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for the 86 federal financial fraud charges of which he was convicted late last year. Prosecutors had requested a 25-year sentence. Rubashkin is 51.

Rubashkin Sentenced to 27 Years [JTA]
Earlier: Rubashkin Found Guilty of 86 Fraud Charges
Rubashkin Cleared of Child Labor Charges

Former Spanish PM Stands Up for Israel

Your latest Emails of Zion

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The Emails of Zion is a collection of messages from Jewish parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and others who are eager—often way too eager—to inform their children about issues of pressing concern to the Jewish community. Some of these emails may sound crazy, paranoid, ethnocentric, and/or racist, while others are disturbingly sane.

Forward emails from your elders to elders@tabletmag.com.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: _______
Date: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 1:36 AM
Subject: Fw: If Israel Goes Down We All Go Down
To: ______, _______

Wouldn’t you and I love to see Jose Maria Aznar as our American President instead of the Marrano Moslem now actively destroying democracy, capitalism and Israel?

How much more destruction do we need before those who voted for Osama finally say “ich hub gemacht a toos” (I made a mistake voting for Obama?)

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
________________________________________
From: One Jerusalem
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 03:57:24 +0000
To:
Subject: If Israel Goes Down We All Go Down

If Israel Goes Down We All Go Down

In a powerful article in today’s Times of London, Jose Maria Aznar, the President of Spain from 1996-2004) provides a rousing and eloquent defense of the State of Israel. Aznar also uses this opportunity to announce the launch of his new organization “Friends of Israel” composed primarily on non-Jewish Europeans and Americans. President Aznar is to be applauded for standing up for Israel, standing up for what is right.

The article is below: (more…)

Madoff’s Extra $9 Billion

Apparently a few friends have the loot

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Bernard Madoff.(Business History)

It might pay to be friends with Bernard Madoff after all. He’s apparently told fellow prisoners that he has stashed $9 billion with three people. If you’re one of them, I’ve got some spare room under my mattress.

Madoff’s Hidden Booty [NY Post]
Earlier: The Lion in Winter

Turkey Ruffles Feathers All Over

New pro-Palestinian stand births new rivalries

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(assertive)

Over the weekend, some began to realize that Turkey and its newly prominent international standing, particularly as an assertive regional power, is causing feelings of worry, resentment, and rivalry—and not just in Israel and the United States, where you would expect it.

Seemingly every day since it vocally praised (and tacitly supported) the flotilla, Turkey has been seen to be displacing several Arab states (especially Egypt) and Iran as the prime advocate for Palestinian rights. To take one example: Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently endorsed a plan that would see Turkey supervising Gaza crossings as part of a deal that would lift the blockade.

Two authors argue that the Arab countries and Iran have noticed: “You can get a sense of just how attractive Turkey’s leadership is among the Arab masses,” they write, “by reading the flood of recent negative articles about Ankara in the government-owned newspapers of the Arab states.” Last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, responded to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s newly vocal anti-Israel rhetoric with his own vociferously anti-Israel speech … which you probably didn’t notice, because everyone is so focused on Turkey right now. (The authors assert that Turkey’s supplanting of Iran could actually redound to America’s benefit. Go figure.) (more…)

Today on Tablet

The mommyblog deluge, and more

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Marjorie Ingall may be our parenting columnist, but she ain’t no mommyblog reader. Josh Lambert has his weekly round-up of forthcoming and new books of note, including contributing editor Ben Greenman’s What He’s Poised To Do. And The Scroll is back at it.

East J’lem Blow Them Horns

The dread vuvuzela enters the fray

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Vuvuzela-users.(Wikipedia)

The East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah has long been ground zero for the movement to halt all Israeli building—indeed, all official Israeli presence—in East Jerusalem, and it has become most famous for its Friday protests, in which Palestinians and left-wing Jews join to draw attention to their cause.

And what’s the best way to draw attention to your cause? I think everyone who has been watching World Cup Finals matches over the past two weeks knows that: Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Yes, folks, the Sheikh Jarrah protestors have resorted to vuvuzelas, those annoying horns that have become notorious for dominating (and partially ruining) soccer viewing experiences. I hope they know that they are probably losing as many fans as they are making. (I also hope they know whose pockets they are lining!)

If you would like to keep up-to-date on the vuvuzela’s doings, you can check—what else?—its Twitter feed.

Sheikh Jarrah Protesters Hope To Draw Attention With Vuvuzelas [Ynet]
Earlier: East Jerusalem Neighborhood Encapsulates Conflict

Daybreak: Israel Lightens Blockade

Plus rumor is that Rahm’s out, and more in the news

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White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel.(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

• Israeli officially established an eased land blockade that should allow many more goods into Gaza. The move received praise from several quarters, including President Obama, who announced a White House meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu on July 6. [NYT]

• Heard the rumor? It’s that Rahm Emanuel—who once harbored ambitions of being the first Jewish Speaker of the House—will leave his chief-of-staff post by the end of the year. [Telegraph]

• U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Israel’s internal probe into the flotilla lacks “international credibility.” [NYT]

• More than a dozen U.S. warships, including an aircraft carrier, and at least one Israeli ship reportedly crossed through Suez toward the Red Sea Saturday, angering many in Egypt. [Haaretz]

• This morning, Iran stopped two U.N. nuclear inspectors from entering the country. [Reuters/NYT]

• Defense Secretary Ehud Barak is in Washington, D.C., for senior-level talks, primarily about Iran. [JPost]

Oh, and it’s the longest day of the year. So enjoy that.

Sundown: Controversial Novelist Dies

Plus Turkey rising, and more

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José Saramago.(Wikipedia)

• The Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese novelist José Saramago died. He will be remembered as a great writer … and as the man who in 2002 compared Israeli actions in the West Bank to German actions at Auschwitz. [NYT]

• If it wasn’t clear enough before, the United States can definitely no longer count on Turkey backing it on major issues. [National Interest]

• Is Turkey attempting to revive its Ottoman (read: imperial) roots? [TNR]

• A profile of Elena Kagan’s family, which managed to be Jewish, left-wing, and Upper West Side, all at the same time. [NYT]

• Bollywood is making a controversial Hitler biopic. [Arts Beat]

• Indoors this weekend? Check out Executive Editor Gabriel Sanders interviewing Kai Bird, author of the memoir Crossing Mandelbaum’s Gate, on Book TV. [CSPAN]

A song about Molly Bloom. Music (and performer): Alicia Jo Rabins. Lyrics: James Joyce.

Alicia Jo Rabins sings Molly Bloom from Tablet Magazine on Vimeo.

Eric Cantor Bets on It

‘It’ being high inflation

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Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) in March.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Item! Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia)—the House Minority Whip, a rising star in his party, and the only Jewish national Republican lawmaker—has been betting against the federal government. Like, literally. Since last December, he has been an investor in an exchange fund that profits as U.S. Treasury bonds fall. But where does he fall on Israel bonds???

Eric Cantor’s Investment [Washington Wire]

Man Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office

An old Jew tells a joke

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Well, yes.

Tel Aviv Goalie Shines on World Stage

Nigeria’s Enyeama earns plaudits from Maradona, Messi

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Nigerian goalie Vincent Enyeama blocks a Greek shot yesterday.(Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images)

Okay, first things first: The United States—Tablet Magazine’s official World Cup Finals soccer team—was just cheated out of a win over Slovenia by an idiot ref. This isn’t whininess or being a homer; any number of neutral-minded soccer observers are going to say the same thing in the coming hours and days. It’s just a fact. Video here. Final result: 2-2. Grrr.

Second: As I predicted, Jewish hunk Benny Feilhaber did indeed play midfielder for the Americans, going in for the entirety of the second half. (Fat lotta good that did us! Sorry, sorry.)

Third: There is another exciting player and team for Tablet Magazine readers, and that is Nigeria. Why? Because that side’s exceptional goalie, Vincent Enyeama, plays club soccer for Hapoel Tel Aviv. After Nigeria’s 1-0 loss to Argentina, Argentine striker Lionel Messi, generally agreed to be the world’s best player, had high, high praise for Enyeama, calling him “exceptional”. Added Argentine manager Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest soccer player in history, “He was the one who made us suffer, because in football if you create chances and fail to convert then you can be punished.” (By “football,” that silly Argentine clearly means soccer.)

(By the way, four years ago, during the previous World Cup Finals, there was a Forward article—a particularly well-written one, at that—about a Ghanaian player who also played for Hapoel Tel Aviv and who, after scoring a goal against the Czech Republic, yanked an Israeli flag out of his shorts and waved it about, earning the ire of much of the Arab world.)

Now, the bad news: Yesterday, Nigeria somewhat surprisingly lost 2-1 to Greece. Their final game is next Tuesday against South Korea. I’m not positive about this, but I believe they still have the opportunity to advance: If they defeat South Korea by a significant margin, and if Argentina defeats Greece (as is indeed likely), then South Korea, Greece, and Nigeria would all be 1-2-0, and the tiebreaker would go to goal differential, in which case Nigeria would stand a very decent chance at advancing to the elimination round as Group B’s second seed. Got that? So stay tuned!

Everyone’s Talking About Enyeama [VF.com]
Earlier: U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Hasid Is a Punk Rocker!

The Punk Jews project

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Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman.(Wikipedia)

Oh, that’s not the song. How did I confuse “Sheena” with “Hasid”?

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to introduce you to Punk Jews, an online documentary series set to air in the late summer, featuring the characters that make up the, well, punk Jewish scene. Not punk, the genre of music, but punk, the attitude. The spirit. (Incidentally, among those who do represent Jewish punk, the genre of music, are the Ramone brothers—they were born Jeffrey and Mitchell Hyman in Forest Hills, Queens.)

The documentary’s subjects include Hasidic African-American rapper Y-Love; Levi Okunov, a fashion designer originally from Crown Heights; and Rivka Karasik, a mixed-media artist who grew up Lubavitch. Also featured is the crowd from Cholent, the Thursday night free-wheeling party that was thrown in the Millinery Shul and named after the stew-like concoction containing beans, barley, flanken, potatoes, and, of course, kishka.

Filmmakers Jesse Zook Mann, Saul Sudin, and Evan Kleinman just met their $10,000 fundraising goal through kickstarter.com.

They hope to add to that sum this Saturday night at Manhattan’s Sixth Street Synagogue. The event will feature performances by Golem, Y-Love, Moshiach Oi, Eden, and Blanket Statementstein, with art installations by Rivka Karasik, Elke Reva Sudin, and Ira Kaufman.

The event will take place this Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

For more information please visit PunkJews.com.

‘The Snotgreen Sea’

‘Ulysses’ in 15 minutes

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OK, last one, we promise. But here, from Wednesday night’s “The Bloom in Bloomsday” celebration, is our 15-minute Ulysses-spiel. Invest the time, and we assure you: You will walk away with a pretty basic idea of what happens in that untameable, 700-page novel.

Thank You!

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