Archive for January, 2009

Fact or Fiction — The story of (another) fake holocaust memoir

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on January 29, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090129180851766_1The Jewish Daily Forward
January 8, 2009

Josie loved the book “Angel Girl,” by Laurie Friedman. She was a fan of Friedman’s Mallory books, chapter books about the travails of a modern-day third grader: friendships, pets, moving, having her mom begin teaching music at the school she attends (mortifying!). But “Angel Girl” was very different — a non-fiction picture book filled with gorgeous, lyrical, tilted-perspective paintings, about a Holocaust survivor and the “angel girl” who saved him by tossing him apples over the work camp fence.

And now we know that the survivor in question, Herman Rosenblat, invented his story. “Angel Girl” has been withdrawn from the market and its publisher, Lerner Books, has offered a refund to anyone who bought it; Rosenblat’s own memoir has been canceled.

But Josie wasn’t disappointed or upset. When I sat her down to tell her that “Angel Girl” was made up, she said, “It doesn’t matter. It still feels true.” She explained that learning that the apple and the couple’s reunion were lies didn’t affect her love of the story. “I know Harry Potter isn’t real, and there are no flying brooms or magic maps or Voldemort, but the way the writer wrote it, it feels real. And ‘Angel Girl’ feels real.” The notion that people can take risks and help each other in the face of danger and injustice, that love can triumph over evil and that serendipity or destiny have a role in human lives… for her, it was dayenu.

My daughter’s not entirely innocent of darker human motives. “Why would Herman make up this story?” I asked her. “To make money,” she answered instantly. But again, she didn’t care. The story had a life apart from its fallen hero. She loved the art. She loved the way Friedman wrote. That was enough.

Of course, it shouldn’t be. As Adam Lerner, president of Lerner Publishing Group, said in a statement: “While this tragic event in world history needs to be taught to children, it is imperative that it is done so in a factual way that doesn’t sacrifice veracity for emotional impact.” Exactly. I don’t want Josie equating the Holocaust with Harry Potter. And she needn’t. At 7, she can distinguish between the fictional characters in Lois Lowry’s “Number the Stars” and the historical truth behind the book: the way the Danes protected their country’s Jews by smuggling them to freedom in Sweden, the role of the Resistance during the war, the heroism of Danish fishermen and Swedish scientists. A note at the end of the novel clearly spells out what is real and what is fictional. It’s certainly possible to teach children history, its broad and terrible truths illuminated by flickers of human nobility and hope. Josie reads non-fiction too, and has learned that all kinds of narratives, “real” and not, can contain emotional truths. But we parents do have to make sure kids understand what veracity means in the real world.

And it’s not as though flags weren’t raised years ago. Rosenblat first told his story over a decade ago to win a newspaper contest and it’s been floating around the Internet for years. (I got it in e-mail five times.) Dozens of people have pointed out that the fence at the Buchenwald sub-camp where Herman was imprisoned was next to the SS barracks and approaching it was punishable by death; Herman and Roma couldn’t have met on opposite sides of it every day at the same time. But hey, we want to believe. Anything with the gloss of “this really happened!” gives a frisson. Memoir is more titillating than fiction. People will always invent stories and say they’re true, risking exposure, for a variety of motives we can never really know. Greed, a need for attention, the belief that the way it should have been is actually the way it was. And the public will always hunger for sensational “true” tales. Folklorists call them FOAFs — “friend of a friend” stories. This really happened! To my cousin’s sister-in-law’s hairdresser! Attaching a human, no matter how shadowy and distant, to an unbelievable narrative gives it believability.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this sordid story is that Herman wasn’t a guy who spent three hours in jail when he said he’d spent three months there; he wasn’t a suburban rich girl claiming to be an inner-city gangbanger. He really did survive the camps. His life was already a miracle. It’s a shame that wasn’t enough, for him or for the publishers and Oprah bookers. There had to be an angel girl.

It’s also galling that everyone jumped on the Rosenblat bandwagon when there are so many powerful Holocaust narratives that deserve wider audiences. A number of comic book creators, including Stan Lee, have been trying to sell a story about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, a young artist who painted a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on the wall of the children’s barracks at Auschwitz. Josef Mengele then had her paint portraits of gypsies for his records; because of this work, she and her mother survived. After the war, she met and fell in love with one of the animators of the original Snow White film. Today, at 85, she seeks the return of her works from the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, but the museum refuses. Comic book creators, who know well the pain of having their creations taken from them, have taken up her cause, thus far to no effect. Wouldn’t Babbitt’s story make an incredible children’s book or graphic novel? Or could I interest you in the tale of Irena Sendler, the Polish Catholic woman who saved thousands of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto, whose story became more widely known after four high school girls in rural Kansas wrote a play about her, in 1999? The play has been performed hundreds of times in schools around the world, and the girls got to meet Sendler in Poland several times. She died in 2008. Is this multi-generational saga not worthy of a children’s book or an HBO movie?

But maybe that’s the biggest problem of the media machine: the notion that memoirs have to be larger than life. The best personal history I’ve ever read is Mark Salzman’s “Lost in Place” (Vintage, 1996). It’s about a nebbishy short kid in the suburbs obsessed with kung-fu. There’s no gang violence, no stints in rehab. There is, well, bike-riding. And pot-smoking. (Hey, it’s Connecticut in the ’70s.) And yet it’s about big themes: yearning for meaning, finding your way in the world, creating a sense of self. It’s lyrical, funny, sweet, humane and moving. Why can’t that be enough?

I admit this entire subject gives me agita, as I’m currently wrestling with these issues while co-writing a memoir, the story of a fashion model who overcame anorexia and exercise bulimia. How can I make sure I’m telling the truth while telling a good story and making larger points about all our lives? As Joni Rodgers, the New York Times bestselling memoirist and ghostwriting guru said on her blog, Boxing the Octopus: “The purpose of memoir is not only to suss out emotional truth and meaning in the actual events, but also to recognize the angel and the liar in each of us. There is a way to tell what really happened and still give voice to what might have been, to what we prayed for or dreamed of.”

We have to resist the temptation to sugarcoat history by throwing apples and angels at it. Of course we shouldn’t overwhelm kids with more detail or darkness than they’re capable of understanding at a given age, but we also shouldn’t make the teaching of history part of the feel-good movement.

The above article can be found at:

Fact or Fiction — The story of (another) fake holocaust memoir


Nixon, Graham warn of “total domination of media” by “Satanic Jews” in 1972

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on January 27, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090127234702163_1The New York Times
March 17, 2002

It seemed impossible, when H. R. Haldeman’s White House diaries came out in 1994, that the Rev. Billy Graham could once have joined with President Richard M. Nixon in discussing the “total Jewish domination of the media.” Could Mr. Graham, the great American evangelist, really have said the nation’s problem lies with “Satanic Jews,” as Mr. Nixon’s aide recorded?

Mr. Graham’s sterling reputation as a healer and bridge-builder was so at odds with Mr. Haldeman’s account that Jewish groups paid little attention, especially because he denied the remarks so strongly.

”Those are not my words,” Mr. Graham said in a public statement in May 1994. ”I have never talked publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms.”

That was the end of the story, it seemed, until two weeks ago, when the tape of that 1972 conversation in the Oval Office was made public by the National Archives. Three decades after it was recorded, the North Carolina preacher’s famous drawl is tinny but unmistakable on the tape, denigrating Jews in terms far stronger than the diary accounts.

”They’re the ones putting out the pornographic stuff,” Mr. Graham said on the tape, after agreeing with Mr. Nixon that left-wing Jews dominate the news media. The Jewish ”stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain,” he continued, suggesting that if Mr. Nixon were re-elected, ”then we might be able to do something.”

Finally, Mr. Graham said that Jews did not know his true feelings about them.

”I go and I keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know,” he told Mr. Nixon, referring to A. M. Rosenthal, then the newspaper’s executive editor. ”And all — I mean, not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine, they swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country. And I have no power, no way to handle them, but I would stand up if under proper circumstances.”

Mr. Graham, who is now 83 and in poor health, quickly issued a four-sentence apology, but he did not acknowledge making the statements and said he had no memory of the conversation, which took place after a prayer breakfast on Feb. 1, 1972.

The brevity of the apology and Mr. Graham’s refusal to discuss the matter further have angered many of the same Jewish organizations that for so long counted Mr. Graham as their best friend among evangelical Christians. The taped remarks have become the subject of synagogue sermons and columns in Jewish newspapers, with some Jewish leaders suggesting that Mr. Graham had hidden anti-Semitic views for decades.

”Here we have an American icon, the closest we have to a spiritual leader of America, who has been playing a charade for all these years,” Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an interview last week. ”What’s frightening is that he has been so close to so many presidents, and who knows what else he has been saying privately.”

Mr. Foxman urged Mr. Graham to return the award he won in 1971 from the National Conference of Christians and Jews — one of many such awards presented to him.

Yesterday, Mr. Graham’s organization issued a longer apology, in which Mr. Graham acknowledged making the statements, but repudiated them.

”I don’t ever recall having those feelings about any group, especially the Jews, and I certainly do not have them now,” he said. ”My remarks did not reflect my love for the Jewish people. I humbly ask the Jewish community to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.”

Mr. Foxman subsequently issued a statement accepting the new apology, but for many Jews the damage had already been done. In a recent column in several Jewish newspapers, the Washington journalist James D. Besser said the remarks should awaken Jews to the intense dislike for them among many evangelical Christians, except insofar as Jews are useful to the fulfillment of Christian apocalyptic prophecies.

The tapes have been particularly disturbing to people and groups who have worked to find common ground between Jews and evangelical Christians, many of whom say that their progress has now been significantly set back. For years, Mr. Graham stood apart from other evangelicals in his refusal to proselytize Jews directly, sharply disagreeing on the issue with his own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. Because of that stance, the American Jewish Committee presented Mr. Graham with its National Interreligious Award in 1977, calling him one of the century’s greatest Christian friends of Jews.

The taped remarks, however, will only help perpetuate the stereotypes that Jews and evangelicals hold about each other, said Rabbi Yechiel Z. Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, based in Chicago.

”Jewish friends are coming up to me now and saying, ‘See, we told you so — they’re all frauds,’ ” said Rabbi Eckstein, an Orthodox Jew who has become a liaison between Israel and evangelical Christians.

Mr. Graham’s friends and biographers have tried to come up with some explanation for an act that so sharply diverges from five decades of almost universally admired public behavior. Lewis Drummond, the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Samford University, a Southern Baptist institution in Birmingham, Ala., said he believed that Mr. Graham was referring throughout his conversation only to those few Jews he considered unethical for distributing pornography.

”There’s not an anti-Semitic bone in his body,” said Dr. Drummond, a longtime friend of Mr. Graham’s who has written a book about him. Dr. Drummond recalled that Mr. Graham had always preached against intolerance, refusing — in the South of the 1950’s and 60’s — to hold his crusades in segregated auditoriums and inviting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to join him in the pulpit.

Another biographer, William Martin of Rice University, suggested that Mr. Graham was thinking only of liberal Jews with whom he disagreed politically. Mr. Martin said that just as Mr. Graham grew up in a culture of segregation and moved beyond it, he had also evolved beyond what his thoughts were in 1972.

Mr. Graham’s statement yesterday expressed hope that he had grown past his words that day in the Oval Office. Describing himself as ”an old man of 83 suffering from several ailments,” he said his life had been a pilgrimage of growth and change.

”Every year during their High Holy Days, the Jewish community reminds us all of our need for repentance and forgiveness,” he wrote. ”God’s mercy and grace give me hope — for myself, and for our world.”

The above article can be found at:

Nixon, Graham warn of “total domination of media” by “Satanic Jews” in 1972

Israelis counter Gaza qualms with ‘grim satisfaction’

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on January 26, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090126220549606_1The Financial Times
January 25, 2009

As the dust settles on three weeks of war, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have nothing over which to rejoice: buildings lie in rubble, thousands have been killed or injured and prospects for an end to the misery and violence remain slim.

In Israel, however, the war has left the population in very different mood. Whether through pride, relief or even a sense of triumph, there is no doubt that the Gaza conflict has at last made Israelis feel better about themselves, their leaders and their army.

Officials and analysts say they have been surprised by the degree of Israel’s national unity and sense of common purpose during the war. After years in which Israel as a whole was ridden by self-doubt and lurched from military setback to political infighting to diplomatic stalemate, the change in attitude is palpable.

Polls show the overwhelming majority of Israelis backed the war, which they saw as a just assault on an implacable and dangerous enemy. The approval ratings of all government politicians have shot up, while much of the country has delighted in the images, splashed across the front pages last week, of smiling Israeli soldiers riding home on battle tanks in victory pose.

“There is a sense of grim satisfaction that the army has returned to itself,” says Yossi Klein Halevy, a fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center. “The soldiers fought with more motivation than at any time since the 1973 Yom Kippur war, the home front bore up with weeks of shelling without complaint and the country was unified. Even most of the Israeli left supported the operation.”

Analysts say the key to understanding the Israeli elation of the past days lies in the country’s botched 2006 war in Lebanon. The conflict against Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group, exposed serious failings among Israel’s politicians, generals and soldiers. It ended inconclusively but was perceived by Israelis as an embarrassing failure, and one that did much to undermine the country’s power of deterrence in the region.

As it happened, Hezbollah turned out to be sufficiently deterred not to open a second front as Israel pounded Hamas over the past month. But few doubt that the Lebanon war dealt a heavy psychological blow to a country that takes distinct pride in its armed forces and in which society and military are closely intertwined.

David Grossman, one of Israel’s best-known novelists, sees the Gaza war almost as a kind of exorcism for the collective conscience. In a front-page essay for the Haaretz newspaper, he wrote last week: “A whole country eagerly hypnotized itself, because it needed so badly to believe that Gaza would cure it of ‘Lebanonitis’.”

As a result, he argues, the images of civilian suffering among the Palestinians in Gaza now lie buried beneath a “wave of nationalist hyperbole”.

The contrast between Israeli perceptions of the war and the worldwide outrage at the country’s assault on an already impoverished territory is striking. Outside Israel, the attention has focused above all on the hundreds of dead civilians and on incidents where Israeli fire hit schools, United Nations compounds and hospitals. The apparent use of controversial ammunition such as white phosphorus has been the target of vociferous condemnation.

Several human rights groups have called for Israeli politicians and soldiers to be prosecuted for war crimes, sparking an indignant response from the government and promises of legal aid to any officers targeted in courts outside the country. The gulf separating Israel from much of the rest of the world — not just on the Gaza war — has not escaped the country’s notice.

“There is a sense of radical disconnect that most of us feel between our moral perceptions and those of the international community,” says Mr. Klein Halevy. Far from shaking Israeli certitudes, however, he says, the international condemnation has been met with “rage” and “contempt”. The question posed by Israelis is simple: “Don’t you people realize the nature of the enemy we are facing?”

Israel, he argues, will indeed have to examine whether the use of overwhelming firepower against a target such as Gaza was appropriate. But “we knew that we risked turning ourselves into a pariah, because there is no clean way to fight such a war if you want to win”.

Mr. Grossman, who lost his son in the Lebanon war, believes Israel will eventually come to share the international mood. “When the guns fall completely silent, and the full scope of the killing and destruction becomes known, to the point where even the most self-righteous and sophisticated of the Israeli psyche’s defense mechanism are overcome, perhaps some kind of lesson will imprint itself on our brain,” he argues.

For the time being, however, the lesson that Israelis take away from three weeks of war is one that has echoed throughout the country’s history: that being strong is always preferable to being popular.
The above article can be found at:

Israelis counter Gaza qualms with ‘grim satisfaction’

Who runs Hollywood? C’mon (“Jews totally run Hollywood”)

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on January 22, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090122145424790_1The Los Angeles Times
December 19, 2008

A poll finds more Americans disagree with the statement that ‘Jews control Hollywood.’ But here’s one Jew who doesn’t.

By Joel Stein

I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22 percent of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50 percent in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping.

Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to re-convince America that Jews run Hollywood by launching a public relations campaign, because that’s what we do best. I’m weighing several slogans, including: “Hollywood: More Jewish than ever!”; “Hollywood: From the people who brought you the Bible”; and “Hollywood: If you enjoy TV and movies, then you probably like Jews after all.”

I called ADL Chairman Abe Foxman, who was in Santiago, Chile, where, he told me to my dismay, he was not hunting Nazis. He dismissed my whole proposition, saying that the number of people who think Jews run Hollywood is still too high. The ADL poll, he pointed out, showed that 59 percent of Americans think Hollywood execs “do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans,” and 43 percent think the entertainment industry is waging an organized campaign to “weaken the influence of religious values in this country.”

That’s a sinister canard, Foxman said. “It means they think Jews meet at Canter’s Deli on Friday mornings to decide what’s best for the Jews.” Foxman’s argument made me rethink: I have to eat at Canter’s more often.

“That’s a very dangerous phrase, ‘Jews control Hollywood.’ What is true is that there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood,” he said. Instead of “control,” Foxman would prefer people say that many executives in the industry “happen to be Jewish,” as in “all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish.”

But Foxman said he is proud of the accomplishments of American Jews. “I think Jews are disproportionately represented in the creative industry. They’re disproportionate as lawyers and probably medicine here as well,” he said. He argues that this does not mean that Jews make pro-Jewish movies any more than they do pro-Jewish surgery. Though other countries, I’ve noticed, aren’t so big on circumcision.

I appreciate Foxman’s concerns. And maybe my life spent in a New Jersey-New York/Bay Area-L.A. pro-Semitic cocoon has left me naive. But I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.
The above article can be found at:
See this similarly-themed article (also featuring Jewish boasts of media control by a writer with the same last name as the first article) originally published on E! Online in about 2004, but subsequently pulled:
Do Jews run Hollywood? You bet they do — and what of it?
By Ben Stein

A few days after Marlon Brando scandalized the airwaves by referring to the Jews who worked in Hollywood as “kikes,” I got a call from an editor at “60 Minutes.” The woman wanted to know how I felt about Brando’s use of words and his allegation that Hollywood is “run by Jews.”

She suggested the desired answer by noting that her researchers had conclusively proven that Jews do not run Hollywood.

Crafty 60 Minutes had studied the top slots in town. Their research showed that “only” about 60 percent of the most important positions in Hollywood were run by Jews. What did I think?

I managed to disqualify myself by saying that while Hollywood was not really “run” by anyone (it’s far too chaotic for that), if Jews were about 2.5 percent of the population and were about 60 percent of Hollywood, they might well be said to be extremely predominant in that sector.

That was far too logical and un-PC an answer, and I never heard from her again.

But Jews are a big part of my thoughts (as they are of every Jew’s thoughts). Plus, I live and struggle in Hollywood, so the combination intrigues me. What exactly is the role of the Jew in Hollywood? More to the point, what does it signify, if anything, if Jews have a big role? And, most interesting of all, why do we care?

First, it is extremely clear to anyone in Hollywood that Jews are, so to speak, “in charge” in Hollywood in a way that is not duplicated in any other large business, except maybe garments or scrap metal or folding boxes.

At mighty Paramount, the controlling stockholder is Sumner Redstone. Head of the studio is Jon Dolgen. Head of production is Sherry Lansing — all members of the tribe.

At titanic Disney, the CEO is Michael Eisner, the world’s most assimilated Jew, who might as well be a Presbyterian. Deputy head is Michael Ovitz, karate champ but also a Jew. Head of the studio is Joe Roth.

At newly energized ICM, the top dogs are Jeff Berg and Jim Wiatt. At still overwhelming CAA, Jack Rapke and other members of my faith predominate. At William Morris, Jon Burnham and other Jews are, by and large, in the power positions.

This has always been true in Hollywood. The ex-furriers who created Hollywood were Eastern European Jewish immigrants, and all of the great edifice of fantasy-making in Hollywood is their handiwork. Names like Zukor and Lasky and Goldwyn and Cohn are the foundation of mass culture in America and the world.

There is a much quoted note that it took all these Eastern European Yiddish-speaking Jews to create the lasting, worldwide image of America and what America is — the mass culture mirror that America likes to hold up to its face.

This thought is made concrete by the simple line at the beginning of “Gone with the Wind” that it is “A David O. Selznick Production.” It took a Selznick, married to the daughter of a Louis B. Mayer, working with a Thalberg, to create the ultimate vision of romantic America — the antebellum South.

It took a Jew — Leslie Howard — to play Ashley Wilkes, the bedrock image of what a perfect American gentleman is supposed to be.

Thus, the fact of Hollywood’s being very largely Jewish is not exactly news. The news is that Hollywood is rapidly becoming ethnically far more diverse than it was only a couple of decades ago, when I first arrived here.

You can take it from the studio level, where probably the most powerful man in town is of the Australian faith — one Rupert Murdoch by name. Murdoch, no one’s idea of a Jew, controls a major studio, a major broadcast network and the largest aggregation of TV stations in America. [Actually, Murdoch’s background is still open to question (see Christopher Bollyn on Murdoch’s Jewish roots), while his closeness to the Israeli Likud Party is well-known.]

The head of programming at ABC is a full-on gentile, Ted Harbert. The owner and head of production of what has become the Tiffany studio, MGM, are Kirk Kerkorian and Frank Mancuso, also not members of Temple Israel. And on and on.

It is certainly true that there have always been goyim in Hollywood.

But there are more gentiles in the Industry now, and there has formed a whole new route to Hollywood.

No longer do young men and women work their way up solely by being mailroom clerks or nephews of producers or offspring of men in the linen-supply business.

The standard route to Hollywood now is through Harvard and Yale. Sitcom writers and producers, movie scriptwriters and producers now come from the Ivy League far more than from the streets of Brooklyn. Most of the writing staff of the powerhouse “Seinfeld” is from the Harvard Lampoon.

So are many of the writers on “Married…with Children,” “Friends” and other stalwarts of the box. The route from Harvard Square to Hollywood is now hallowed by success and money. In fact, the agencies now beg and plead for Harvard Lampoon grads the way they once cried for the writers of The Jack Benny Radio Program.

This change from borscht-belt origins to the halls of Harvard as a prime source of writing talent in Hollywood is a quantum shift. Many of the Harvard and Yale alums are, to be sure, Jews, but many are not.

Now, this is interesting to those of us who work here. But it is of no significance at all to the 99.9 percent of Americans who do not.

The only possible significance of whether Hollywood is run by Jews or not must have to do with whether or not the product comes out “Jewish,” or in some way different from the way it would if it were made solely by gentiles.

Really, the point is even a little uglier than that. The only real reason why the question of whether Jews “run” Hollywood is at all interesting is because there is some residual thought — apparently as was in the mind of Marlon Brando — that Jews are sinister and alien.

”Kike” is a low Polish word meaning the nastiest, most alien connotation of Jew. That would mean that the Jewish product of Jewish Hollywood would be somehow subversive in some way. This would be akin to Wagner’s notion that Jews had polluted and ruined German music with their innately subversive sensibility.

This is a thought so bizarre and even comical to anyone familiar with Hollywood that it merits laughter more than fear. Yes, of course, the Hollywood product is made mostly by Jews. But these Jews are in love with America.

These are Jews who want to play polo, not davvinn in shul. These are Jews whose children play soccer and learn horseback riding in Malibu.

These Jews, as soon as they have two million to rub together, buy farms in South Carolina (Joel Silver) or vast spreads in Colorado (Peter Guber).

It was the Jews of the ’30s and ’40s who gave us the vision of America the Good, where money did not count — only goodness. Think of the works of William Wyler (maker of the ultimate pro-American heartstrings movie, “The Best Years of Our Lives”), or of MGM and its celebration of the swinging good life of Ginger and Fred.

Where does the idea come from of the perfect American family, occasionally quarreling mildly but ultimately working it all out in love and affection? From “Ozzie and Harriet” and “Leave It to Beaver” and “I Love Lucy,” with their largely Jewish writers and producers.

Where does the idea come from that parents and children, as polarized as they might be, will ultimately love each other? From Norman Lear and his factory for grinding out funny and touching affirmations of domestic life in America.

Where does the idea that blacks can be funny and endearing as millionaires and not just as servants and wide-eyed fools fleeing ghosts? Again, from Norman Lear and “The Jeffersons.”

Hollywood’s current product occasionally repels and even sickens me. I am truly disgusted with its language, its violence, its endless attacks on businessmen and military officers. (On the other hand, it never can attack the CIA enough for me.)

But these are eddies and ripples in the vast tide of Hollywood messages that encourage and hearten us in our daily struggle.

Many Americans get this message far more from Hollywood than from worship, and these are by no means subversive messages.

So now, as the shrinks say, we may perhaps to begin.

If any overall view of the Hollywood product shows it has been a wholesome influence on American life, why is Hollywood itself still so not trusted?

Why can a Marlon Brando attack it so explicitly for its Jewishness and a Dan Quayle and even a Bob Dole and even a Bill Clinton attack it on an ongoing basis for its alleged sinister quality?

I marvel that when people criticize the auto industry for making trucks that catch fire when they are struck and cars that turn over on a turn, no one ever says “the gentile auto industry.” No one calls the pharmaceutical industry sinister or attacks it as alien even though it turns out a lot of pills that addict people.

As far as I can recall, Hollywood, and only Hollywood, gets the treatment as being somehow sinister and alien.

Other industries are bad — like big tobacco — but only Hollywood is un-American, even though its product kills a lot fewer Americans.

It’s hard to resist the thought that there are only two explanations for this:

– Envy. Life in Hollywood is thought to be fun, well-paid, glamorous and sexy. Naturally, many people sitting in cheerless offices in D.C. or elsewhere want to be in the seat where the mighty of Hollywood sit. Because they have no idea of how to get there, they express envy and criticism of the people who are there.

– Plain old primitive anti-Semitism. About two years ago, as I was having lunch at the Spokane airport, an obviously somewhat off waitress recognized me from my modest acting work and said she had once seen “that Jewish woman with the big nose and the great voice” and did I know her?

“Do you mean Barbra Streisand?” I asked.

Without missing a beat, she asked, “Say, do the Japanese control Hollywood, or do you people still run it?”

It’s fear and racism at that level that motivates the issue of Hollywood as sinister and alien. Maybe it’s so basic when it comes to Jews that it just will never go away. Or maybe it will take so long to go away that Hollywood will be Korean by then.

For now, Hollywood, in many ways the most successful cultural enterprise of all time and the most potent messenger of American values of all time, is changing, but it is still largely Jewish. And a very angry voice in my curly head makes me add, “What the hell of it?”
The above article no longer exists on the E! Online website, but can now be found here:
For further information about the role played by Eastern European Jews in the creation of Hollywood and the US film industry (and their subsequent effect on the American psyche) see the excellent documentary film “Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream Hollywoodism: Jews, movies and the American dream

Who runs Hollywood? C’mon (“Jews totally run Hollywood”)

GAZA’S BLOOD IS ON OUR HANDS (for ignoring the truth of 9/11)

Posted in Original Research with tags , , on January 20, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090120221515652_1As the dust settles in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian casualties, mostly women and children, are being counted in the hundreds. What just happened was a real holocaust — not a fictional Hollywood production like the “Holocaust” of European Jewry — and the blood of the more than 1300 slain Palestinians is on our hands.

If we had collectively faced up to the reality of Israel’s central role in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, none of these subsequent Israeli atrocities — including the Zionist-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — would ever have been allowed to happen.

In the wake of 9/11, overwhelming evidence emerged, available to anyone who was interested, implicating Israel in the attacks. Much of this evidence — more than enough to stand up in any legitimate court of law — even came out in the Jewish-owned “mainstream” media. (For a concise collection of this evidence, see Victor Thorn’s “9/11 Evil: Israel’s Central Role in the September 11, 2001 Attacks”.)

Now, imagine if, in the months and first few years after the tragedy, we had all had the courage to face the obvious: that the so-called Jewish state — along with its rats’ nest of agents in the US government and intelligence agencies — had conceived, planned, and executed the attacks in order to produce an imaginary “Clash of Civilizations” and drive the US into a global war against the enemies of Israel.

All of the proof was available to us. If we had all shown a little strength of character, and faced up to the truth staring us in the face, the subsequent march to war by the Jewish-controlled Bush Jr. Administration would have been stopped in its tracks.

Imagine: States of the union — pressured by their outraged constituencies — would have demanded legitimate, independent investigations, threatening the federal government with secession if need be.

Enormous demonstrations, involving millions of Americans, would have converged on Washington DC. At risk to life and limb, angry protestors would have dragged known culprits from the White House and other federal institutions to face trial or, depending on the circumstances, vigilante justice.

Jewish-owned mass-media institutions, which played such a vital role in the 9/11 conspiracy and subsequent cover-up, would have been quickly dismantled. Their Zionist propagandists would have been detained pending investigation, trial and — most likely — execution.

Good people in the armed services — still loyal to the US Constitution — would have found and exposed those within their ranks working in the service of a foreign power. Zionist conspirators within the military would have been court-martialed and, having been found guilty of high treason, subject to the maximum penalty.

Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy in the US, along with ADL and AIPAC offices countrywide, would have been besieged by angry Americans seeking redress for the murder of 3000 of their innocent compatriots. Zionist agents would have been tried — by emergency courts, convened by independent states of the union, if need be — and, given the overwhelming proof against them, sentenced to death.

Conspirators who escaped conviction in court would have become fugitives, to be hunted down by righteously-minded local posses spearheaded, perhaps, by the outraged kinsmen of those slain on 9/11.

Most importantly, America’s support for the criminal state of Israel would have vanished overnight, to be replaced by bitter acrimony. An alliance of sovereign nations including the US — whose peoples had purged their respective governments of Zionist rot — would have brought their full weight to bear against the pariah state, arresting its criminal leaders and forcing its military to disarm.

Universally despised and economically unsustainable without US funding, the Israeli experiment would have been brought to a close, forcibly if necessary. Its people would have been dispersed — to refugee camps, if need be — and replaced by the original, rightful inhabitants of Palestine.

But no. We chose instead to give Israel and its henchmen a pass on 9/11.

In an indication of how low we’ve sunk, we let them get away with it. And our apathy only emboldened them to pursue a litany of subsequent crimes — in Iraq (where millions have been killed), Afghanistan, Southern Lebanon, and now Gaza.

Those dead and dying in the Gaza Strip have already paid the price for our spinelessness. And if the global resistance doesn’t soon take this fight to the enemy, it’s only a matter of time before the next consignment of innocent children is offered up to Jewish gods on the altar of our cowardice.

How long before we seek — demand — righteous vengeance?

GAZA’S BLOOD IS ON OUR HANDS (for ignoring the truth of 9/11)

In Washington, Israel calls shots on Gaza, pt. II

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on January 19, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090119155905526_1Olmert’s boast of “shaming” Rice provokes diplomatic furor
The Jewish Daily Forward
January 15, 2009

Washington — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert didn’t do anything wrong — but he should have kept his mouth shut. That was the reaction of several Jewish leaders to Olmert’s public boast January 11.

He said he left Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “shamed” by getting President Bush to block her at the last moment from voting for a Gaza cease-fire resolution that she herself had hammered out over several days with Arab and European diplomats at the United Nations.

Olmert bragged of having pulled Bush off a stage during a speech when he called on the phone and demanded the president’s intervention. Administration officials, however, have sharply challenged Olmert’s account.

“I have no problem with what Olmert did,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “I think the mistake was to talk about it in public.”

“This is what friendships are about. He was not interfering in political issues. You have a relationship, and if you don’t like what is being done, then you go to the boss and tell him.”

Douglas Bloomfield, a former chief lobbyist for the Washington-based pro-Israel lobby the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, dismissed the episode as “a spitting match between two lame ducks.”

“This reinforces the perception that the Israeli prime minister and Israeli leaders have easy access to the leaders of the U.S.,” Bloomfield said. “It is a fact that the Israeli prime minister can get the president on the phone. Not every prime minister in the world can do that. It is no secret that Israel tried to influence the U.S. regarding U.N. votes. It reinforces what the rivals of Israel say about the enormous clout Israel has in Washington, and I see nothing wrong with that.”

But Bloomfield added, “It is a mistake to talk about it.”

Rice, according to press reports, worked hard with Arab and European diplomats to come up with a Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza that all could support. She finally gave her approval to a draft calling for an “immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

But the January 8 vote was delayed just before it was to take place, as Rice was called away to the phone. When she returned, she abstained on behalf of the United States — contrary, other diplomats said, to her earlier commitment. The measure, Resolution 1860, was adopted 14-0, with only America in abstention.

In public remarks afterward, Rice stressed that her government nevertheless strongly supported the resolution.

“We decided that this resolution, the text of which we support, the goals of which we support and the objectives that we fully support, should indeed be allowed to go forward. I believe in doing so, the council has provided a roadmap for a sustainable, durable peace in Gaza,” Rice said after the January 8 vote, explaining America’s decision to abstain.

Olmert’s call to Bush aside, there were hints of internal wrangling within America’s administration over the resolution. In a January 11 CNN interview, Vice President Dick Cheney voiced disbelief in the U.N.’s ability to end the fighting in Gaza. “I think we’ve learned, from watching over the years, that there’s a big difference between what happens at the United Nations in their debates and the facts on the ground in major crises around the world,” Cheney said.

Israel and Jewish groups, including Aipac, the ADL and the American Jewish Committee, opposed the draft’s language, which they saw as one-sided. They also felt that the draft stood in contrast to Israel’s demand not to give it equal standing with Hamas in the resolution.

During a January 5 conference call with Jewish activists, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, gave special priority to blocking the international body from taking a stand on the Gaza issue. “We need to work hard to ensure the Security Council doesn’t pass a resolution,” Hoenlein said.

It was in Ashkelon, in southern Israel, that Olmert gave a speech in which he said that on hearing of the draft that Rice had developed with her U.N. colleagues, he immediately called Bush, just minutes before the U.N. vote. He was told that Bush was giving a speech in Philadelphia and could not talk.

“I said, I don’t care; I have to talk to him,” Olmert told the crowd, which included reporters and TV cameras.

Bush, according to Olmert, was called off the podium and immediately agreed to look into the issue. “He gave an order to the secretary of state, and she did not vote in favor of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organized and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed, and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” Olmert told the crowd.

A furious White House and State Department condemned Olmert’s account as inaccurate and the State Department called it “totally, completely untrue.” Rice termed it “a fiction.”

In a January 13 press briefing, spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice had decided a day before the vote that she would not veto the resolution. McCormack also stated that Rice made the choice to abstain after she consulted with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and with Bush.

The decision by Rice not to outright veto the January 8 Security Council resolution, as the United States has the power to do under Security Council rules, triggered angry and unusual criticism from Jewish groups that have praised Bush during most of his eight-year White House tenure.

Aipac issued a statement January 6 condemning the U.N. resolution and criticizing the Bush administration for not using its veto power and instead “succumbing to pressure exerted by Arab states.”

The ADL expressed disappointment with the administration in a written statement: “We expected the Administration to abide by its longstanding commitment to fighting global terrorism and the scourge of anti-Semitism, and Israel’s role on the front lines of that fight.”

The tough words from Israel and Jewish groups toward the outgoing administration will make little difference for Bush and Rice, who leave office January 20. But they will serve as a message to the incoming administration led by President-elect Barack Obama and his choice for secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“This is a battle that needed to be taken,” Foxman said. “We don’t win all our battles, but we can’t simply accept that the Security Council is what the Security Council is.”

The above article can be found at:
Also, see this Jan. 13 article from IPS:

Olmert’s Claims Revive Spectre of “Israel Lobby”
Inter Press Service (IPS)
January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department fiercely denied claims made by Ehud Olmert about his influence over President George W. Bush, in an incident that has stirred up old debates about the role of the Israeli government and the so-called “Israel lobby” in formulating Middle East policy in Washington.

On Monday, Olmert claimed that he demanded and received an immediate conversation with President Bush, during which he convinced the president to overrule the wishes of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and abstain from a United Nations resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In response, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Tuesday called Olmert’s claims “wholly inaccurate as to describing the situation, just 100-percent, totally, completely not true”. The State Department did not respond to an IPS request for further elaboration.

Olmert’s comments were made in Ashkelon, a southern Israeli city that has been the target of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

According to Olmert, he called the White House upon hearing of the upcoming U.N. Security Council resolution. “I said, ‘Get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care: ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me,” Olmert said, according to multiple media reports.

As a result of his conversation with President Bush, Olmert claimed, the president called Rice and forced her to abstain from voting on the measure, which she herself had helped author.

“He gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favour of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” Olmert said.

The Security Council resolution passed by a vote of 14 to 0, with the U.S. the only abstention.

The U.S. government was quick to counter Olmert’s remarks. In addition to the State Department’s rebuttal, a White House spokesman also denounced “inaccuracies” in the story.

Regardless of the truth of Olmert’s claims, the story comes as an embarrassment to the Bush administration, which has faced criticism for its alleged unquestioning support for Israeli positions.

While most U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere have called for an immediate ceasefire since the Israeli bombardment of Gaza began on Dec. 27, the Bush administration has been unwavering in its refusal to condemn the campaign or suggest a timeline for its conclusion.

The U.S Congress has also expressed its strong support for Israel’s actions in Gaza. Last week, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed nonbinding resolutions in support of the military campaign.

But polls indicate that both members of Congress and the public at large may be more skeptical of the Israeli offensive than the official positions of the U.S. government would indicate.

An anonymous poll of 68 congressmen conducted by National Journal found that 39 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Republicans felt that Israel had used “too much” force in Gaza. Nevertheless, over 90 percent of representatives voted in favour of the House resolution, which placed all blame for civilian casualties in Gaza upon Hamas.

And in late December, a Rasmussen poll found that the U.S. populace as a whole supported the Israeli offensive by a narrow 44 to 41 percent margin. Among Democrats, 55 percent felt that Israel should have tried to find a diplomatic solution first.

The diplomatic spat over Olmert’s comments, along with this alleged disparity between U.S. public opinion and policies on Israel-Palestine, have given new intensity to an old set of debates.

Charges of pro-Israel bias have not been unique to the Bush administration. Critics also accused the Bill Clinton administration, and particularly its top negotiator Dennis Ross, of giving priority to Israeli concerns during the peace negotiations of the late 1990s.

Ross, who is rumoured to be in line to become President-Elect Barack Obama’s top Middle East envoy, was accused by U.S. and Arab negotiators of not being “an honest broker” in the peace process, according to a book by Ross’s former colleague Dan Kurtzer.

And in 2005, former U.S. peace negotiator Aaron David Miller complained that “many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel’s attorney, catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peace negotiations”.

On the U.S. domestic scene, Congress’s overwhelming backing of the Gaza offensive despite apparently lukewarm public support has been taken as further evidence for the existence of an “Israel lobby” skewing policy in a hawkish direction.

This claim was put forth by political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in a 2006 article in the London Review of Books entitled “The Israel Lobby”, later turned into a 2007 book. They alleged that hawkish pro-Israel lobbying groups — most notably the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — have for decades skewed foreign policy in a direction detrimental to U.S. interests.

The Mearsheimer/Walt thesis has been extremely controversial since its publication. To critics, the thesis was simply the latest manifestation of a long line of conspiracy theories alleging covert Jewish domination of politics.

Defenders countered that the idea of an Israel lobby was not meant to stand in for Jews as a whole — both because the policies of groups like AIPAC were unrepresentative of the more dovish views of most U.S. Jews, and because the lobby was also made up of large numbers of evangelical Christians.

Regardless, the years since the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt’s article have seen more open debate about the way that Israel policy is formulated in Washington. Relatively centrist commentators such as Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic and Joe Klein of TIME, while taking pains to distinguish their views from those of Mearsheimer and Walt, have suggested that hawkish Jewish groups in the U.S. political establishment are skewing Israel policy in an unhealthy direction.

As world debate over the Gaza war remains fierce, it seems unlikely that these controversies will die down in the near future.

Walt, for one, has taken recent developments as a further vindication of his views.

“[A]lthough most Americans support Israel’s existence and have more sympathy for them than they have for the Palestinians,” he wrote Jan. 5 in response to the Rasmussen poll, “they are not demanding that U.S. leaders back Israel no matter what it does. But that’s what American politicians reflexively do.”

The above article can be found at:

In Washington, Israel calls shots on Gaza, pt. II

In Washington, Israeli PM Olmert calls shots on Gaza; orders Bush, Rice on UNSC resolution

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on January 14, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090114185024306_1U.S. says remarks on Olmert-Bush call inaccurate
January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday denied that a telephone call from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to President George W. Bush forced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain in a U.N. vote on the Gaza war.

“There are inaccuracies,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said about Olmert’s remarks Monday night in a speech broadcast on Israeli television and widely reported in the media.

Olmert said he had demanded to talk to Bush with only 10 minutes to spare before a U.N. Security Council vote Thursday on a resolution opposed by Israel calling for an immediate ceasefire.

“He gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favor of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organized and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” Olmert said.

The White House did not elaborate on the inaccuracies.

But State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, who was with Rice at the United Nations last week during debate on the U.N. resolution, said the remarks were “just 100 percent, totally, completely untrue.”

McCormack added that Washington had no plan at the moment to seek clarification from Israel.

In his remarks, Olmert described his call to Bush while the U.S. president was giving a speech in Philadelphia.

“I said, ‘I don’t care. I have to talk to him now,'” Olmert said, describing Bush, who leaves office on Jan. 20, as “an unparalleled friend” of Israel.

“They got him off the podium, brought him to another room and I spoke to him. I told him, ‘You can’t vote in favor of this resolution.’ He said, ‘Listen, I don’t know about it, I didn’t see it, I’m not familiar with the phrasing.'”

Olmert said he then told Bush: “‘I’m familiar with it. You can’t vote in favor.’”

Bush was in Philadelphia on Thursday morning and gave a 27-minute speech on education policy that ended at 11:46 a.m. and there was no interruption of the public event.

The U.N. Security Council voted on the Gaza resolution about 10 hours later, shortly before 9:30 p.m.

[The U.S. abstained from voting, while the other 14 members of the council approved the ceasefire resolution.]

Arab ministers said after the U.N. vote Thursday that Rice had promised them the United States would support the resolution, but then made an about-face after talking to Bush.

A few minutes before the scheduled vote at the United Nations, Rice’s staff told reporters she would make a few brief comments beforehand, but then abruptly canceled her press appearance, saying she would instead speak to Bush by phone.

She then entered the U.N. Security Council chamber, huddled with Arab ministers who shook their heads as she spoke to them. Immediately after the vote, Rice left for Washington without talking to reporters.

Rice joined her French and British ministers in drawing up the resolution and the three Western powers haggled with Arab countries for three days over wording, which Rice told the U.N. Security Council she supported.

(By Tabassum Zakaria; Additional reporting Paul Eckert and Sue Pleming in Washington and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
The above article can be found at:

In Washington, Israeli PM Olmert calls shots on Gaza; orders Bush, Rice on UNSC resolution