Today on Tablet

The movements try to get along, and more


Today in Tablet Magazine, staff writer Marissa Brostoff reports that a new bequest’s interdenominational nature has thrown the three main movements’ waning power into relief. Mark Schechner remembers the great Seymour Krim—not just the writer, but the man. Liel Leibovitz finds himself unable to write a column about this week’s haftorah, because the flotilla fiasco weighs too heavily on his mind. It sure has weighed on The Scroll this past week.

Jews, Italians Share Genetic Links

It’s both business and personal, Sonny

James Caan as Sonny Corleone.(Wikipedia)

There is now a scientific basis for the time-honored principle that Jews can play Italians and Italians can play Jews. The largest-ever genetic analysis of the Jewish people revealed that Jews in disparate parts of the world have genetic commonalities, and also close DNA similarities to the Bedouin, the Druze, the Palestinians … and the Italians.

Notably, ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have a genetic bond.

As for ugly Mexican bandits? Still no word.

Jews Worldwide Share Genetic Ties [Nature News]

Daybreak: New Ship Approaches

Plus the blockade reconsidered, and more


• The Rachel Corrie—the Irish-owned, flotilla-affiliated ship that was headed for Gaza—could reach the exclusion zone, where Israel is enforcing the blockade, by this afternoon. Prime Minister Netanyahu vows it will not reach land. [AP/NYT]

• There had been rumors it was turning around due, allegedly, to Israeli “sabotage” to the two ships that were accompanying it. (“See? It’s not hard to do this right.”) [Haaretz]

• Though Israel maintains the blockade’s necessity, it is also considering alternatives that would increase the amount of civilian goods able to reach Gaza. [NYT]

• … Which seems to be all the United States is hoping it does. [JPost]

• … Which seems to be what David Ignatius is hoping the United States does. [WP]

• Yesterday was a day of mourning for thousands of Turkish people; their government continues to talk of a lost friendship. [NYT]

• New York Republicans selected a Nassau County lawyer named Bruce Blakeman, who appears to be Jewish, to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the fall. [NYT]

Sundown: Obama Won’t Waste the Crisis

Plus more on Malek, Mametian porn, and more

Fred Malek.(WP)

• President Obama told Larry King that he hopes the flotilla incident will be used as an opportunity to advance peace. [Haaretz/Reuters]

• New revelations about Fred Malek’s role as President Nixon’s Jew-counter have come to light. [WP]

• Provocative essay on who the Israeli right’s supporters in America are. [The National]

• What it’s like in Gaza. [WP]

• Drake, the half-Jewish rising hip-hop star, sits for an interview. [Heeb]

• Scroll (scroll!) halfway down for some choice photos of various Tablet Magazine personages, including Seth Lipsy and Jonathan Rosen. Socialites! [New York Social Diary]

Nextbook Press author David Mamet brings us a lost masterpiece of pornography:

Celebrate ‘Ulysses’ with Tablet Magazine

June 16, everyone. Save the date!


On June 16, 1904, a cuckolded advertising salesman named Leopold Bloom wandered the streets of Dublin, unwittingly acting out Odysseus’s journey home. Nowadays, on June 16—Bloomsday—lovers of literature and Irish culture celebrate Bloom and the great epic novel in which he appears, James Joyce’s Ulysses.

All well and good: Literature is splendid, and we all enjoy a pint of Guinness every now and again. But the traditional, Gaelic way of honoring Bloom denies a crucial aspect of his identity. For Joyce’s best-known creation, and one of the most memorable characters in all of literature, is a Jew.

This year, Tablet Magazine will not let people forget that. On Wednesday, June 16, at 7 PM, at the bar Solas in Manhattan’s East Village, we will be ringing in Bloomsday with readings and music:

• Novelists Joshua Cohen and Ben Greenman will read selected excerpts.

• Alicia Jo Rabins, of Girls in Trouble, will sing an original, specially commissioned song about Bloom’s wife, Molly.

• Actors from the New Yiddish Repertory Theater will enact one scene from the novel that has been translated into the language of Bloom’s ancestors.

• There will be a presentation, “Ulysses in Five Minutes,” for those who haven’t yet tackled the novel’s 800 or so pages.

Plus! Starting next week, The Scroll will be blogging up a storm about Cohen’s new novel, Witz, a great big wonderful Joycean novel about the last Jew on Earth. And Bloomsday attendees can expect a special midrash from Josh on this ever-so-Jewish genre.

So save the date: We’ll all be there. Let’s claim Bloom for his people!

Sweet poster, designed by our very own Len Small, after the jump. (more…)

Wieseltier Joins the Fray

Cameron condemns, Abbas has a prize, and more flotilla reax

The New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier, painted by Avigdor Arikha.(National Galleries of Scotland)

• Leon Wieseltier’s opening quip says it all: “Operation Make the World Hate Us, it might have been called.” [TNR]

• David Cameron, the new Tory British prime minister, calls for an end to the Gaza blockade. [JPost]

• Elliott Abrams accuses the Obama administration of abandoning Israel to the United Nations “lynch mob.” [Weekly Standard]

• Prime Minister Netanyahu’s full defense of the raid. [Ben Smith]

• Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of “state terrorism”; renamed the upcoming Palestine Investment Conference the “Conference of Freedom” (remember, it was the “Freedom Flotilla”); and gave all the flotilla activists Palestinian citizenship. [JPost]

• An essay bemoans the raid but reasserts support for the blockade. [NYT]

• Columnist Nick Kristof urges President Obama to speak out against the blockade, for the sake of both Israeli and American interests. [NYT]

• While ceding the stupidity of the raid, Michael Rubin argues that Israel’s relationship with one-time ally Turkey had already frayed, and that this was the deliberate doing of Prime Minister Erdogan. [Forward]

• I have a feeling Gideon Levy’s comparison of Netanyahu to Ben-Gurion is a wee bit sarcastic. [Haaretz]

• Former President Jimmy Carter defends the Gaza blockade and the raid. Not! [AP/Vos Iz Neias?]

Church Bell Sex

An old Jew tells a joke


Oh, man.

Five Jews Land on ‘New Yorker’ Authors List

Including one The Scroll stupidly left out!

David Bezmozgis, the writer I forgot.(Courtesy David Bezmozgis)

When The New Yorker announced last month that it would publish a list of 20 promising fiction writers under 40, I stepped in with a lists of my own: The 20 most likely Jewish entrants, and the five I was most strongly predicting.

Well, the actual list has been released, and it turns out there are exactly five Jews … but only four of the ones I predicted, and, even worse, the fifth was not even on my list of 20! David Bezmozgis, I am so, so sorry! I will find a way to atone for this. I promise.

Nope, wait, it gets worse: He contributed two pieces to, Tablet Magazine’s predecessor. Check ‘em out.

The other four, incidentally, who made the New Yorker list and were on both of mine, are: Jonathan Safran Foer; Rivka Galchen; Nicole Krauss; and Tablet Magazine contributing editor Gary Shteyngart.

Finally, 15 not Jewish writers who are also probably worth reading are on the list. (Needless to say, my Guaranteed Lock, Wells Tower, made the cut.)

The New Yorker’s ‘20 Under 40’ [Arts Beat]
Earlier: All the Jewish Young Literary Men (and Women)

The American Connection to the Raid

U.S. citizen killed; another loses eye in protest

Emily Henochowicz’s name in Hebrew script.(Henochowicz’s blog)

Of the activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla who were killed, one was an American citizen. It has been confirmed that he is of Turkish ethnicity; a Turkey news agency reports it was Furkan Dogan, 19.

Meanwhile, a young American woman who had been living in Ramallah, in the West Bank, lost her eye when a tear gas canister hit her during a protest against the flotilla raid. Emily Henochowicz is a 21-year-old student at Cooper Union, in New York City, with, shall we say, very left-wing views on the situation (her blog is here). She grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is where I am from; her high school is five minutes from my parents’ house; we have friends of friends in common. (I can also confirm that she is Jewish.)

I disagree with those who say I am not allowed to feel a certain solidarity for Israel, going beyond the political, due to my strongly identified Jewish identity. But that also means I’m allowed to feel an even stronger solidarity with another Jewish kid from the D.C. suburbs. Well, damn it all.

U.S. Citizen Among Those Killed in Flotilla Raid [WP]
American Hit in Anti-Israeli Protest Loses Eye [AP/Vos Iz Neias?]

Get To Know ‘Stateless’

‘Hip-hop vaudeville’ hits Manhattan June 8


On Tuesday, June 8, a really cool performance, sponsored by Tablet Magazine, is going down at Joe’s Pub, in Manhattan. Stateless is a “hip-hop vaudeville”—that is, it combines elements of both—that tells the story of Gebrüder Wolf, a troupe known as the “Marx Brothers of Hamburg” before the Nazis put them out of business, as well as several contemporary performers.

It’s going to be really cool! (It’s going to have an open bar afterwards, too!)

Check out the Facebook page, with a link for tickets.

Still in the dark? This should help.

Today on Tablet

An oxymoronic liberal Zionism, dogs!, and more


Today in Tablet Magazine, Daniel Luban epically questions whether a notion of American liberal Zionism is even tenable. Shalom Auslander, and dogs. Dogs! The NBA Finals are tonight: Marc Tracy profiles Red Holzman, who oversaw past New York Knicks glory with a very specific number of wins. The Scroll is, somewhat sadly, picking the Lakers in six.

Israel Conquers YouTube

IDF Flotilla videos garner millions of views


Yesterday, the New York Times noted that one of the main battlegrounds, at this point, is YouTube, with videos from competing sides each purporting to sell different narratives of the incident: Who was armed and who was unarmed, who started it, and so on. (Me? I will continue to insist that Han shot first.)

Well, numbers aren’t everything, but the numbers have it for Israel: Despite initially holding off on releasing footage, as of yesterday afternoon Youtube’s first- and third-most viewed videos, each with more than a million views, are IDF tapes of the raid on the main ship, the Mavi Marmara. These show the soldiers being violently set upon immediately after landing. (Second place was going to something titled “American Idol Freakout!!”—more Zionist propaganda, no doubt.)

A new “mash-up” of IDF footage, which does a nice job splicing among different perspectives, has been making the rounds. Check it out below:

And check out some audio here.

Videos Carry On the Fight Over Sea Raid [NYT]

Daybreak: Blockade in Jeopardy

Plus Biden and Oren weigh in, and more


• The United States will push for some sort of alternative to the Gaza blockade. [NYT]

• Israel has clarified that its landings of five of six ships were peaceful; on the biggest, the Mavi Marmara, passengers resisted violently, it said. Activists continue to challenge the Israeli line. [WSJ]

• Vice President Biden weighed in with strong words of support for Israel’s actions. AIPAC applauded this and congressional statements of solidarity. [Ben Smith]

• Israel’s military has come under perhaps unprecedented criticism in the wake of the incident. [WSJ]

• Palestinians were apparently refusing to accept the humanitarian goods from the flotilla, which Israel took, inspected, and attempted to deliver to Gaza. [NYT]

• Israel’s ambassador, Michael Oren, argues that elements in the flotilla were unconcerned with a humanitarian goal and were instead looking “to destroy any hope of peace.” [NYT]

Sundown: New Iran Sanctions Put Off

Plus Ireland requests boat’s passage, and more

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks today.(Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)

• Remember the new push for Iran sanctions? A vote on them, which had been backed by Russia and China, will now be delayed due to the flotilla brouhaha. [Laura Rozen]

• Ireland formally requested that the Rachel Corrie, an Irish-owned ship piloted by the Free Gaza folks, be allowed to travel to Gaza. It is currently on its way. [JTA]

• The U.N. Human Rights Council passed a motion to request a Goldstone-esque probe into the Flotilla raid. Several European countries abstained; the United States voted against. [JPost]

• David Horovitz bemoans the damage done by the Israeli decision to initially withhold video showing IDF soldiers being attacked by those on board. [JPost]

• Prime Minister Netanyahu defended the raid and the soldiers, and condemned the rest of the world’s “hypocritical” response. [Ynet]

• An exegesis on the nature of humor and what makes today’s Old Jews Telling Jokes so funny. [The Awl]

The news cycle has caused us to be delinquent about posting those; we’ll try to be better. Here is the discussed one:

Talking Turkey, Blockade Bungled

And McCain blames Obama

Rural Israeli youths march in solidarity today.(Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

• Fred Kaplan explains just how routine a task it is to properly maintain a blockade, and so just how bizarre it is that the sophisticated Israeli navy failed to complete it. [Slate]

• The always-wise David Ignatius says the flotilla incident has hopefully revealed to the Israelis—and the world—that Turkey is serious about regional hegemony. The next step, he adds, is to make this the whole world’s problem. [WP]

• Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) says President Obama’s demand for a full settlement freeze led to the fiasco. Somehow. [The Hill]

• The Israeli government is not apologizing. [LAT]

• Noah Millman points out that, for better or (quite possibly) worse, the blockade receives broad support from the Israeli public. [The American Scene]

• Jeffrey Goldberg reports from Israel that people there are scared that their damaged reputation will make them look vulnerable. [Jeffrey Goldberg]

• Israeli novelist Amos Oz says the fiasco has shown the limits of the power of force. [NYT]

• David Frum says Oz’s dovishness would be more workable if he had more counterparts in Hamas. [Frum Forum]

• Thomas Friedman puts the incident in the context of fraying relations between “two of America’s best friends.” [NYT]

• Bernard Kouchner, France’s foreign minister and one of Europe’s most prominent liberals, called the raid “a very grave mistake” from Israel’s perspective. [Ynet]

• Hussein Ibish dissects why Israel’s attempt to sell its counter-narrative is failing. [Ibishblog]

• Tablet Magazine columnist Etgar Keret finds himself an unlikely diplomatic correspondent. [Haaretz]

• Israeli novelist David Grossman says the fiasco is merely the natural extrapolation of the cruel and unwise blockade itself. [Guardian]

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