Daybreak: Bibi Moving To Halt Conversion Bill

Plus the non-freeze, the non-talks, and more in the news

Netanyahu at this week’s Cabinet meeting.(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

• Prime Minister Netanyahu is feuding with his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, over the conversion bill Lieberman wants the Knesset to consider by the end of next week (and which today Jeffrey Goldberg describes as an assault on the Diaspora). [JPost]

• For practical purposes, the West Bank construction freeze has not, strictly speaking, involved a total moratorium on building. [NYT]

• The “proximity talks” do not appear to be accomplishing much; Palestinians accuse Netanyahu of playing for time. [NYT]

• This morning, the Libyan-sponsored ship that had been heading for Gaza but then agreed to divert to Egypt was waiting off the dock of El Arish, in the Sinai. [NYT]

• Keeps getting weirder: The CIA says it paid $5 million to the alleged Iranian nuclear scientist who has just returned home after showing up at the Pakistani Embassy, and who has claimed U.S. agents abducted him. [WP]

• U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Jewish groups to make Alan Gross, an American Jew imprisoned in Cuba for helping Cuban Jews connect to the Internet, a cause of theirs. [JTA]

Sundown: U.S. Slams J’lem Expansion

Plus I’m telling y’all, it’s sabotage! and more


• The State Department criticized Israel’s recent demolition of Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem. [Haaretz]

• An utterly fascinating story about how the U.S. and its allies are trying to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Enjoy it alongside the best music video ever made. [TNR (subscription required)]

• A profile of Israeli-American New York real estate developer Shaya Boymelgreen. [NYO]

• Leading medical journal The Lancet has come under fire for publishing articles on Palestinian health issues by authors who have supported Israeli boycotts and the like. [HonestReporting]

• “My 16 year old daughter is dating a JEW. How do I get them to break up?” I dunno, maybe have her tell him she’s Jewish, too? Ba-zing! [That is Racist]

• Tablet Magazine contributing editor Josh Cohen really likes Tablet Magazine contributing editor Gary Shteyngart’s new novel. We like ‘em both, as you can imagine! [NYO]

The amazing story of a young girl who was raised from birth by Wolf … Blitzer (or Ze’ev, if you prefer).

Girl Raised From Birth By Wolf Blitzer Taken Into Protective Custody

Networks Reject Ground Zero Ad

GOP-related org. criticizes planned Islamic center


This morning, Mark Bergen reported on yesterday’s hearing over whether the Cordoba House, a proposed Islamic center, could be housed at a lower Manhattan building mere blocks away from the World Trade Center site. “Former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio has made his opposition to the project a centerpiece of his campaign for governor,” Bergen noted.

Now, CBS and NBC have refused to run an ad criticizing the mosque that was produced by the National Republican Trust PAC.

As midterms, approach, could this already more-than-local issue take on a national cast?

Video of the ad, which has received more than 100,000 views, after the jump. (more…)

Splendorous Americans

More remembering of Harvey Pekar and Tuli Kupferberg


Michael Kazin has a beautiful joint obituary.

Nearly every photo of Tuli Kupferberg shows him with a delicious smile on his face, his long and stringy hair flying around his head; while Harvey Pekar was a celebrated, short-haired grump. When he was young, Tuli tried to kill himself by jumping off the Manhattan Bridge. His friend Allen Ginsberg wrote about this in “Howl,” mistaking it for the Brooklyn Bridge. Tuli said he did it because he was afraid he had lost the ability to love. The young Harvey doubted if anyone would ever find him loveable. Fortunately, both men’s fears proved groundless, and we got to enjoy their feats of perceptive rebellion. American splendor, indeed.

Earlier: Fugs Co-Founder Kupferberg Passes
Harvey Pekar Dies

Who Great Writers Write Like

Usually, not themselves

Philip Roth.(Wikipedia)

The Website I Write Like (via Galleycat) lets you paste in text and tells you which famous author your prose most resembles. But the thing is fickle—depending on which of my writing I plugged in, my style resembled that of James Joyce, Kurt Vonnegut (a favorite of the program, it seems), and J.D. Salinger. So what say we test the site, and see what it says about the writing of famous authors? I used first lines to make it easier.

Author: Saul Bellow.
Book: The Adventures of Augie March.
Text: “I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.”
He Writes Like: Kurt Vonnegut.

Author: Philip Roth.
Book: American Pastoral.
Text: “The Swede. During the war years, when I was still a grade school boy, this was a magical name in our Newark neighborhood, even to adults just a generation removed from the city’s old Prince Street ghetto and not yet so flawlessly Americanized as to be bowled over by the prowess of a high school athlete. The name was magical; so was the anomalous face.”
He Writes Like: Dan Brown.

Author: Allen Ginsberg.
Book: Kaddish.
Text: “Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up all night, talking, talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph.”
He Writes Like: Stephen King.

Author: Cynthia Ozick.
Book: Heir to the Glimmering World.
Text: “In 1935, when I was just eighteen, I entered the household of Rudolf Mitwisser, the scholar of Karaism.”
She Writes Like: Kurt Vonnegut.

After the jump: More authors, Jewish and not; plus, Vonnegut and Brown. (more…)

Jewish Mom Starts Dating Site

Parents can set up kids; kids are thrilled!

Colby and Geri Brin.(NY Post)

Geri Brin thinks her son, Colby, is such a nice boy—she would know; they work together as Internet entrepreneurs—and just hasn’t found the right (Jewish) girl to settle down with yet. So, she has taken matters into her own hands and started a Website, “Date My Single Kid,” for parents to place personal ads for their children.

“One thing about my mom, she has perseverance,” Colby tells the New York Post. “I can picture her on her death bed . . . choking out the words, ‘Colby, did you call that girl?’ before fading into darkness.”

Ah, so that’s where Colby’s mind goes when he thinks about mom.

Marry My Boy! [New York Post]

Ground Zero for a Fight

Cordoba House is like a JCC for Muslims

The Twin Towers, photographed in July 2001.(Wikipedia)

If you’re looking to be involved in the more benign aspects of local government, a seat on the Landmarks Preservation Commission is generally a safe bet. But for two hours yesterday, 11 members of the New York City Commission sat in front of more than 100 people, silent and exhausted, and listened to heavy pleas and heated words over the status of 45-47 Park Place, an unremarkable building that has rested in lower Manhattan for over 150 years. It happens to be the proposed space for the Cordoba House, a Muslim center. And it happens to be two blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Although the project’s fate is in local hands (it has received its Community Board’s OK), the proposal has emerged as a wedge issue in statewide politics: Former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio has made his opposition to the project a centerpiece of his campaign for governor. He joined dozens who shuffled up to the microphone to address the Commission. Most of the speakers urged the Commission to grant landmark status to the building. They want to preserve the city’s historical landscape, they said, but, more importantly, halt the center’s construction. (more…)

Today on Tablet

The Israeli-American terrorist, and more


Today in Tablet Magazine, Will Yakowicz goes deep into the mind of Yaakov Teitel, born Jack Tytell in Michigan Florida, the West Bank settler who has confessed to the murders and attempted murders of several Palestinians—really, to anti-Arab terrorism. Mideast columnist Lee Smith explores why Western intellectuals are inherently driven to support or at least admire Israel’s enemies. The Scroll will try for lighter fare today, but we warn you it is pretty rainy out.

IDF Is Deft With New Boat

Although probe is criticized as soft

(Abu Muqawama via True/Slant)

Haaretz has a damning take on the Israeli military’s probe into the flotilla raid, even as the IDF’s response to a new challenge to the Gaza Blockade indicates that lessons have been learned and wiser, cooler heads have been put into command.

Amos Harel says the IDF report contains “a clear and detailed analysis identifying numerous mistakes, and no recommendations regarding the individuals involved.” It does establish that the activists fired first—something we basically knew already, and yet also something that those who don’t already believe it won’t believe just because the IDF says it is true.

In other words, says Haaretz, the probe was almost useless: “The bottom line, four years after the Second Lebanon War, is that the entire defense establishment had planned for the wrong scenario in the flotilla affair.”

And yet! The IDF was yesterday presented with a real-life second round, and, so far, it seems to be doing something right. A ship sponsored by a son of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi and ostensibly bearing humanitarian cargo left Greece a few days ago. Yesterday morning, it was bound for Gaza; Israeli diplomats publicly cautioned the navy not to forcibly halt the boat before it had entered Gaza’s territorial waters (the flotilla raid took place in international waters); and, yesterday evening, the boat’s captain said that he would set a course for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, near Gaza, which Israeli authorities are permitting. Problem solved? Here’s hoping, and here’s also hoping it’s not the last crisis to end in so un-crisis-like a manner.

IDF Probe of Gaza Flotilla Carefully Avoided Placing Real Blame [Haaretz]
Related: Israel Bites the Bait [Tablet Magazine]

Daybreak: Turkey Seeks All Apologies

Plus what’s Mubarak’s deal? and more in the news

Mubarak last week, in Paris.(Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

• Turkey still wants that apology over the flotilla before it agrees to restore relations. [WSJ]

• A harrowing dispatch from Gaza. [NYT]

• Egyptian President Mubarak’s postponements of meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu has Israeli officials concerned about his reported cancer; there is also one report that the postponements were connected to Israeli actions in East Jerusalem. [Haaretz]

• There have been small clashes between U.N. soldiers and civilians in southern Lebanon recently, as that area grows more restive. [Haaretz]

• The head of the American Jewish World Service calls on international donors to shift focus toward building up earthquake-stricken Haiti’s indigenous governmental infrastructure. [NYT]

• President Obama nominated Jacob J. Lew, an Orthodox Jew, to be budget director, saying he is already in the “Hall of Fame” for his work in that position under President Clinton. [NYT]

Sundown: Boat Bound for Gaza

Plus Zuckerman the speechwriter, and more

Mort Zuckerman.(Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

• The Israeli navy has radioed the Libyan-sponsored ship heading from Greece to Gaza, urging it to change course. “It will not reach Gaza,” said an IDF spokesperson. [NYT]

• Mort Zuckerman says he helped write one of President Obama’s speeches. It isn’t a very credible claim. [Ben Smith]

• Jerusalem was named Travel + Leisure’s “Best City” in the Middle East/Africa region. [Travel + Leisure]

• Brooklyn kosher fish company Dagim is donating 2500 portions of fish to New York’s Masbia kosher soup kitchens. [WSJ]

• David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the Son of Sam, who became a born-again Christian in jail two decades ago, has gained many admirers in the evangelical world. [NYT]

• Prompted by last week’s Times article, J Street has called for a U.S. Treasury investigation into pro-settler charities. [JTA]

My favorite Seinfeld Steinbrenner scene. Although, as Queens residents, wouldn’t the Costanzas be Mets fans?

| MySpace Video

When The Boss Played The Boss

Steinbrenner was normally voiced by Larry David


I was not sure how, or even if, to address the death of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (although I will say that if you care at all, this and this are necessary reading). The Boss was not Jewish; and anyway, we had not one but two deaths covered yesterday. (And it’s only Tuesday! Everyone hide!) The closest Jewish link to Steinbrenner—other than the millions of Jewish Yankee fans —is that he was famously voiced, though not played, on Seinfeld by Larry David; Steinbrenner was George Costanza’s boss from Seasons 6 through 8. Still, enh.

But then, via City Room, there’s this: Steinbrenner actually appeared in a Seinfeld episode, though his scenes were deleted before broadcast. But now you can see the three scenes from “The Invitations,” the Season 7 finale (also known as the episode in which Susan dies). An important note is that the final two—in which we have Steinbrenner’s and then Elaine’s backs to us—are parodies of the typical Steinbrenner scenes. If nothing else, they are proof that Steinbrenner was aware of what everyone thought of him. Which is something.

George Steinbrenner, Who Built Yankees Into Powerhouse, Dies at 80 [NYT]

Column Subject Enters the Comment Thread

Our cyberbullying article attracts L.A. father

(Photoillustration: Len Small/Tablet Magazine; photos: iStockphoto)

A funny thing happened in the comments section of Marjorie Ingall’s column yesterday, in which she and Liel Leibovitz argued over a recent case involving a school suspension over cyberbullying. Evan Cohen—the father who sued his daughter’s Los Angeles school for suspending her for posting a mean video about a classmate on YouTube—waded into the fray. And then Marjorie and Liel stepped in, too, and, well, it pretty much goes from there (40 comments and counting).

You should check out the whole conversation, and even contribute—but be civil, please. Evan Cohen’s defense is after the jump.


Killing Hitler

An old Jew tells a joke


Inglorious Basterds, the comedy.

How Does Kristol Do It?

Guy’s on like 80 million boards, which all say the same thing

William Kristol.(Fox News)

“When intellectuals cannot do anything else,” Dissent founder Irving Howe once quipped, “they start a magazine.” Similarly, when hawkish, predominantly Jewish foreign policy experts who are friends with or indeed are Bill Kristol cannot do anything else, they start a think tank. You can trace this back pretty far—to 1993’s New Citizenship Project (chaired by Kristol), which gave birth to the Project for the New American Century (also chaired by Kristol); he didn’t found the Ethics and Public Policy Center, but he serves on its advisory board, as well as that of Elizabeth Cheney’s Keep America Safe.

Which brings us to March of last year. Then, Kristol co-founded the Foreign Policy Initiative, whose goal is to promote, among other things, “robust support for America’s democratic allies and opposition to rogue regimes that threaten American interests.”

Which brings us to yesterday, when—who else?—Kristol co-founded the Emergency Committee for Israel, which “seeks … to educate the public about the serious challenges to Israel’s security and about what elected officials in this country are doing,” which is to say, it seeks to support a democratic ally and oppose the rogue regimes that threaten it. (more…)

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.