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Why They Hate ‘Why Jews Hate Palin’

A detailed analysis of controversial ‘Commentary’ essay

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Can’t get enough of hating on Jennifer Rubin’s controversial Commentary essay, “Why Jews Hate Palin”? The Atlantic’s Website has a nice compendium of angry reactions to Rubin’s article, grouped under one of three problems that they accuse the essay of having:

• No Evidence That Jews, in Particular, Hate Palin
• Conflates Jews and Liberals
• Recycles Every Anti-Semitic Jewish Stereotype Known to Man

If anyone notices anything detailing why the haters are wrong and Rubin is right, do please leave it in the comments.

The Three Biggest Problems With ‘Why Jews Hate Palin’ [TheAtlanticWire]

Related: Why Jews Hate Palin [Commentary]

Earlier: Why We Hate Her

Why You Should Root For the Chargers

NFL playoffs continue this weekend

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Antonio Garay in 2006, when he was a mere Chicago Bear.(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It’s because of their Jewish quotient!

Kaplan’s Korner breaks it down: of the eight remaining playoff teams, the San Diego Chargers have two Jews (David Binn and Antonio Garay), the Dallas Cowboys also have two Jews (Igor Olshansky and Kyle Kosier), and the Minnesota Vikings have one (Sage Rosenfels). It’s probably not worth letting Rosenfels sway you in favor of the Vikings: he’s an aging back-up quarterback who gets very little playing time due to Minnesota’s aging starting quarterback, Brett Favre. Nor should you root for the Cowboys, ever.

So go Chargers! Phillip Rivers is the NFL’s most exciting young quarterback. Running back LaDanian Tomlinson (and, yes, Coach Norv Turner) deserve a Super Bowl win. As do the Chargers, a venerable franchise that dates back to the American Football League’s founding 50 years ago but has yet to bring home a Lombardi Trophy. To get prepared for this weekend’s game—San Diego hosts the New York Jets on Sunday at 4:40 P.M., EST—check out this new profile (via Kaplan’s Korner, natch) of Chargers defensive tackle Antonio Garay.

Oh, and for the record, the favorites will win this weekend (home team in caps):

NO (-7) over Arizona; INDIANAPOLIS (-6.5) over Baltimore; MINNESOTA (-2.5) over Dallas; New York (+7.5) over SAN DIEGO—but San Diego wins the game.

Samson Ain’t Got Nothin’ On These Guys [Kaplan’s Korner]

Jewish Charger Antonio Garay Strives to Help Bring San Diego a Super Bowl Championship [San Diego Jewish World]

Poll: Blumenthal Set To Win Seat

Next Jewish Senate candidate is likely the next Jewish senator

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Blumenthal announcing his candidacy last week in Connecticut.(Douglas Healey/Getty Images)

Richard Blumenthal, the long-time Democratic Connecticut attorney general who is running for Sen. Christopher Dodd’s soon-to-be open seat, is sitting very pretty according to a new poll. Quinnipiac University—which is known and respected for its national polls, but is actually in Connecticut—found Blumenthal positively walloping his three most likely Republican opponents (one of whom is Linda McMahon, the wife of professional wrestling honcho Vince McMahon). We’re talking leads of several touchdowns here, which is perhaps unsurprising given Blumenthal’s astonishing 84 percent approval rating. “Blumenthal’s job approval is unbelievably high, higher than any other politician we’ve ever measured, other than former President George W. Bush after 9/11,” said the poll’s director. Hey, it was enough to get Bush re-elected, right?

Blumenthal Body Slams Republicans in Connecticut [Quinnipiac University]

Earlier: Meet the Likely Next Jewish Senator

Who Built The Pyramids? Not the Jews

Newly discovered tombs indicate laborers were paid

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Nope, no one he knew built pyramids.(Cafe Americain)

We were once slaves in the land of Egypt, until the Lord with His outstretched hand did His thing. But, while in Egypt, whatever we were doing, we probably weren’t building the pyramids. Mud-brick tombs discovered last week purportedly demonstrate that the builders of the famous pyramids at Giza were paid laborers, probably drawn from the ranks of poor Egyptians, and not slaves, Jewish or otherwise. Part of the reason to think this is that these laborers received lavish burials for their services—“No way would they have been buried so honorably if they were slaves,” says an Egyptian archaeologist.

So where did the whole Jews-built-the-pyramids idea originate? (C’mon, you thought so, admit it!) Exodus refers to the Jews’ “backbreaking labor,” but does not specify what that labor was. You can blame Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who in 1977 said the Jews built the pyramids. Blame it on Orientalism, if that is your thing. But most of all, say experts? Blame it on Hollywood. Sure, why not!

Egypt Says Jewish Slaves Didn’t Build Pyramids [Christian Science Monitor]

Next Year, The Quake May Be in Jerusalem

And Israel is not ready for it

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The disaster in Haiti is bringing attention to the fact that Israel is more or less due for an earthquake of its own. It experiences a major one roughly once every 80 years; the last one was in 1927, and every year that passes without one increases one’s chances of occurring the next year. The epicenter in 1927 was the Dead Sea (the main rift runs along the Jordan Valley), and registered a 6.2 on the Richter scale. Haaretz’s reporter writes:

Most schools and hospitals in Israel were constructed before new building codes—which take into account the effects of earthquakes—were enacted. Moreover, some 50,000 residential buildings in Israel do not meet the new codes and are expected to collapse in the event of an earthquake. … Billions of shekels are invested in the defense budget, and this is seen as an obvious investment, but reinforcing hospitals or schools so they can withstand earthquakes and their aftermath receives no allotment.

Maybe Haiti can serve as a wake-up call.

Israel is Due, and Ill Prepared, for Major Earthquake [Forward/Haaretz]

Today on Tablet

Tropper’s powerful ex-sponsor, a ‘Jersey Shore’ haftorah, and more

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Senior Writer Allison Hoffman continues coverage of the sex scandal surrounding Rabbi Leib Tropper with a profile of 32-year-old Guma Aguiar, the eccentric celebrity owner of Jerusalem’s basketball and soccer teams who used to sponsor Tropper and, as chance would have it, was forcibly committed to a mental hospital yesterday. Staff Writer Marissa Brostoff chats with Rebecca Goldstein—author of Nextbook Press’s Betraying Spinoza—about her new novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. If you’ve been following Vanessa Davis’s graphic memoir (and if you haven’t, you’ve been missing out), you will want to see the final installment. In his weekly haftorah column, Liel Leibovitz shows what Ezekiel has to teach The Situation and the other denizens of Jersey Shore. The Scroll is just glad it wasn’t the first one to mention that show.

Gehry Speaks Out on Canceled Museum Project

Contradicting Tablet, he says move is not political

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Gehry in Brooklyn, New York, in April 2008.(Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Celebrated architect Frank Gehry has denied his partner’s contention—reported in Tablet Magazine—that their firm ceased to participate in the plans for a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem due to “perceived political sensitivities.”

In Michael Z. Wise’s Tablet Magazine story, published yesterday, Gehry Partners design partner Craig Webb said the firm was “no longer involved in the project,” and added, “It is politically very sensitive.” The statement likely referred to the museum’s proposed site on a centuries-old Muslim cemetery and the subsequent chorus that has demanded it be built elsewhere. (Others have taken issue with Gehry’s futuristic design; they argue it is incompatible with Jerusalem’s stone cityscape. Wise wrote that the museum as Gehry designed it “would hardly have ranked among Gehry’s finest creations.”)

But! The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, said yesterday in a statement (which is not online; we received it via email) that, in fact, it was the Center that chose to go in a different direction. And right there to confirm this assertion was Gehry himself. Said the architect (who, for the record, is Jewish): “Unfortunately, our staff and resources are committed to other projects around the globe, and thus I will not be able to participate in the redesign effort. Contrary to a published report quoting my partner Craig Webb, this parting has nothing whatsoever to do with perceived political sensitivities.” That would be Tablet Magazine’s published report. Gehry went on to give the “vitally important” museum his best wishes.

The Center said the switch is intended “to reflect today’s world economic realities.” And Hier praised Gehry: “Frank has done an amazing job and has worked with us at every step of the way to realize our dreams.” Neither Gehry nor Hier was available to comment for Wise’s article.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s first Museum of Tolerance opened in Los Angeles in 1993.

Unbuilt [Tablet Magazine]

Daybreak: ‘Terror Cell’ Blamed For Jordan Attack

Plus the Israeli with 17 wives, and more in the news

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• Jordanian authorities arrested several suspects in connection with yesterday’s bombing of a convoy carrying Israeli diplomats from Amman to Israel (an assault in which no one was injured). Jordanian news outlets fingered a “professional terror cell,” and warned of similar future attacks. [JPost]
Haaretz’s military correspondent guesses that the attack was launched by either al-Qaeda affiliates or Hezbollah. Though the attack’s failure was due to sloppy execution, he notes, it also evinced excellent intelligence and thorough planning. [Haaretz]
• Israel’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who also is the envoy to Haiti, visited the devastation and briefly saw the Haitian president. “As of yet, there is no one around to provide a solution to this catastrophe,” he related. [Haaretz]
• Goel Ratzon, an Israeli who is the self-appointed leader of a quasi-cult, was arrested for alleged enslavement and sexual abuse. He was living in a compound south of Tel Aviv with his 17 female partners and their “at least 40” children. [NYT]
• An anonymous source claimed that Israel might be open to “proximity talks,” under which a mediator—likely U.S. envoy George Mitchell—would shuttle between it and the Palestinian Authority as a form of peace negotiations. [JPost]
• Leib Frank, a godfather to Israel’s South African community, died at 91. [Haaretz]

Sundown: Turkish Jews Call for Calm

Plus the IDF targets Bar Refaeli, and more

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• The main Jewish interest group in Turkey warned that further tensions with Israel could increase anti-Semitism there. [Ynet]
• The Israeli military is urging a boycott of products endorsed by supermodel Bar Refaeli, due to her alleged draft-dodging—she married and immediately divorced, avoiding mandatory service. So maybe try to do without Passionata lingerie? [Arutz Sheva]
• Do you want to listen to a Yiddish-language cover of the Britney Spears song “Three”? Of course you do. [The Safeword is “Gemara”]
• 7,000 surviving victims of Nazi train transports have sued the German state rail company for compensation should it follow through on plans to expand routes to Polish lines. [Times of London/Vos Iz Neias?]
• Israeli police detained the editor of an English- and Arabic-language, West Bank-based news wire, and have threatened him with expulsion. They accuse him of entering Israel illegally. [Guardian]

Red Sox’s Youkilis Wins Best Jewish Player of ’00s

Though don’t forget Shawn Green!

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In an online poll conducted by card-producing company Jewish Major Leaguers, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis was voted the best Jewish baseball player of the last decade. Shawn Green, who played his best years with the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers, got second place, while Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun finished third.

A couple notes. First, I’d like to take a bow: I previously suggested Youkilis could be considered the ’00’s best Jewish athlete. Second, the objectively arbitrary terms of the debate—the best Jewish ballplayer from 2000-09—skew unfavorably against Green (who was fantastic in the late-’90s and early-’00s before petering out) and Braun (who was a rookie in 2007 and will almost certainly be the best Jewish ballplayer of, say, 2008-2017). Additionally, by Scroll law, every time we mention Youkilis we are obliged to link to this incredible clip.

Finally, the poll’s sponsor, Jewish Major Leaguers, is based … in Boston. So we wouldn’t be surprised if similar polls by them revealed that Larry Bird was the best basketball player of the 1980s, Drew Bledsoe was the best quarterback of the 1990s, and the Red Sox are the greatest team of all time.

Youkilis Wins Vote as Top Jewish Player in 2000s [JTA]

Earlier: Who Is This Decade’s Best Jewish Athlete?

A’jad Detects ‘Zionism’ in Scientist’s Murder

There is no fooling the Iranian president

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Ahmadinejad in Tehran last week.(Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Regarding the Iranian physicist who was killed in a bomb blast in Tehran a few days ago, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a theory: the Jews did it. It’s not impossible, or even implausible, that Israel, or the United States, or some Western interest, launched the assassination in order to slow Iran’s nuclear program—a Haaretz columnist posited this yesterday. But Ahmadinejad is not theorizing—he has rigorous scientific proof. The physicist, you see, was killed in the “Zionist style”: “The depth of the enemies’ grudge can be seen in the university professor’s assassination,” he said. “The manner of bomb planting shows a Zionist style and they want to make sure that Iran would not advance.”

What exactly is he saying? Does this mean the killers arrived in Palestine around the turn of the last century to reclaim the land and establish a socialist utopia … and then planted the bomb? Did they work by day at their high-tech start-up, party by night in Tel Aviv’s clubs … and then plant the bomb? Or maybe Ahmadinejad is referring not to Israel but to the underground city of Zion from the Matrix movies? Or the Zion of the Bob Marley song “Zion Train”?

Either way, only time will tell whether Israel’s Zionist style is any match for Iran’s crouching-cricket kung fu style.

Ahmadinejad: Scientist Killed in ‘Zionist Style’ [Ynet]

Related: Iran Scientist Likely Killed By Opponents of Nuclear Program [Haaretz]

Breaking: Israeli Diplomats Attacked in Jordan

No injuries reported

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A convoy of cars carrying Israeli diplomats through Jordan was attacked by a roadside bomb (or perhaps a Molotov cocktail) Thursday evening, local time. No one was injured, and the Israeli ambassador was not present (and is reported safe). The diplomats were traveling from the capital city of Amman to Israel via the Allenby Bridge. They were able to continue after the attack, and have since arrived in Jerusalem. More as more information comes in.

Jordan: Roadside Bomb Against Israel Embassy Staff, None Injured [Arutz Sheva]
Israeli Diplomats Arrive in Jerusalem from Jordan [Arutz Sheva]

Former Tropper Sponsor Forced Into Psych Ward

Guma Aguiar is an energy tycoon, sports-team owner

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Aguiar last year.(Jerusalem Post)

A court ordered Guma Aguiar, the celebrity owner of Jerusalem’s soccer and basketball teams, to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital yesterday. The 32-year-old has reportedly been acting bizarrely of late; most recently, he explained his tardiness to a soccer match by claiming he had been visiting kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Aguiar, who made his millions in the energy industry, used to sponsor the charities of Rabbi Leib Tropper, the conversion guru whose sex scandal Tablet Magazine covered yesterday and today. Aguiar had a falling out with Tropper over allegedly misappropriated donations. He helped precipitate the current scandal by leaking audio tapes of conversations Tropper allegedly had with prospective converts in which he solicited them for sex.

Betar Sponsor in Psychiatric Hospital [JPost]

Related: Con Game [Tablet Magazine]
Converted [Tablet Magazine]

The Turkish To-Do: Turkey Wins, Israel Loses

Turks credit ‘wise man’ Peres

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Peres speaks at the Copenhagen summit last month.(Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)

The diplomatic stand-off between Israel and Turkey, which stemmed from the the Israeli deputy foreign minister’s deliberate humiliation of Turkey’s ambassador, came to a close yesterday when the Turkish prime minister accepted the deputy foreign minister’s formal apology. Where are the various parties left after this?

• WINNER: Turkey. Yes, the Arab and Muslim worlds have a new cause célèbre. But even the broader international community perceives Turkey as the victim of tactless, condescending treatment that violated the extensive decorum governing diplomatic relations. Just as importantly, the world has basically forgotten what originally started all this: a Turkish TV series that depicted Mossad agents as bloodthirsty murderers, as well as extremely questionable comments about Israel from Turkey’s leaders.

• LOSER: Israel. Its unjustified actions are noted and condemned, while its justified grievances are ignored—and unlike when that usually happens, Israel can largely blame itself. Plus, Turkey now has cover to do what it was going to do anyway: cozy up to its neighbors to the east, Syria and Iran.

• WINNER: Shimon Peres. Blessed is the peacemaker! A Turkish diplomat credited Israel’s 86-year-old president with arranging the apology that resolved the burgeoning crisis: “You’re lucky you have Peres, the wise man of the Middle East,” he said. Peres’s legacy as the last rise-above-the-fray old-line Zionist probably did not need further buffing, but in case it did, his role in this affair should do the trick.

• LOSER: Danny Ayalon. The deputy foreign minister, a former ambassador to the United States, is an ambitious politician who might have been looking to make a name for himself while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman—his boss and the leader of his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party—is under police investigation. Instead, Ayalon is now being roundly condemned, with Yisrael Beiteinu members asserting that his career is over and even Peres throwing him under the bus.

• WINNER: Benjamin Netanyahu. Though the prime minister hasn’t been caught on-record saying so, various hints suggest that he at least tacitly supported Ayalon’s actions. Yet Ayalon, and to some extent Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu, took the blame, while Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party look like moderates by comparison.

• WINNER AND LOSER: The United States. When Israel’s image in the Arab and Muslim world suffers, so does America’s. Additionally, it is massively in the U.S. interest for Israel and Turkey, two important strategic U.S. allies, to have a strong relationship, and this latest affair won’t help what was already a deteriorating partnership. On the other hand, this affair frankly could have gotten a whole lot worse before it got better. Yet another country owes Peres its thanks.

Israel and Turkey Patch Up Rift Over a Diplomatic Slight [NYT]
Turkish Official: Israel’s Lucky To Have Peres [Ynet]
‘Ayalon’s Political Career Is Ruined’ [JPost]
Don’t Blame Israel For Ayalon’s Error [JPost]

Earlier: Trouble With Turkey

Today on Tablet

The Tropper sex scandal, from a woman’s side

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Staff Writer Marissa Brostoff—following up on yesterday’s article about the sex scandal surrounding conversion macher Rabbi Leib Tropper—tells the story from the opposite perspective: that of a woman, Shannon Orand, who approached Tropper about converting and was in turn allegedly solicited for sex. If you have the stomach for it, we have transcripts of some of Orand’s lurid phone conversations with (allegedly) Tropper. We’ll try to keep it clean(er) on The Scroll today.

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