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“I was being interviewed live on Israel’s most-watched evening newscast about my trip to Israel with Roseanne Barr when the female anchor asked me about our ongoing efforts to bring people of influence to Israel. I responded that, indeed, while we bring many celebrities to Israel, we also hold celebrities who attack Israel accountable. One of the examples I gave was Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, was protected by the IDF, but chose to boycott Israel and later compare the Holocaust to the regular slaughter of livestock, which is both disgusting and incredibly stupid.
I was not ready for the reaction. The anchor mounted a determined defense of Portman, despite her public condemnation of Israel trying to protect itself against the Hamas terrorists of Gaza. I responded and a spirited defense ensued.
I understood why.
Israel is desperate for celebrities – especially homegrown – who can lend the country legitimacy. And if it means embracing even those Israelis who unfairly condemn the country, so be it.
It’s a dilemma that has to be confronted. Why is that Hollywood is populated by so many Jewish actors, directors and studio heads who are utterly silent on defending Israel?
I’ve been on a tour of Israel for the past week with Roseanne Barr doing public speeches and media appearances. The trip was designed to coincide with our son Dovid Chaim’s bar mitzvah and it’s been nice on this occasion to mix family, business and pleasure.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."