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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘reporter’

Hey, Look, Ma, It’s an Anti-Semitic, Mentally-Deranged Elmo!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Jews are the least of Elmo’s problems.

Four days after a man dressed in an Elmo suit was forcibly ejected from Central Park for spewing anti-Semitic propaganda, an article revealed his frightening past. In Thursday’s New York Times, columnist Michael Wilson spoke with the man, Adam Sandler of Ashland, Ore, about a failed lewd venture he launched in Cambodia. (He said he changed his first name from Dan to Adam, after the ensuing publicity). The site featured brutal, interactive videos where Asian women were tortured in front of the camera and viewers were charged by the minute.

When asked that the site may promote violence against women, he retorted “Good.”

“I hate those [women],” he told a news reporter in 1999. “They’re out of line and that’s one of the reasons I want to do this … I’m going through a divorce right now… I hate American women.”

After the ensuing publicity, he was arrested in Cambodia. The United States government intervened and he was deported instead of serving a possible five-year prison sentence for human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

After moving back to America, he worked for the Girls Scouts of America as a temp.

Seems like a natural transition.

Two videos on Youtube were posted about his newest gig as Elmo. (Caution, both these videos contain inappropriate language.)

In Central Park he ranted about “the Jewish costume companies” and advised people to read “The International Jew.”

“That is the scariest Elmo I’ve ever seen,” one of the women said.

A second video shot in June 5 outside Toys R Us in Times Square had him bashing the kids entertainment system Leap Frog as an “International Jewish toy.”

Though as to whether Elmo was an actual danger to kids, Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)” and the blog by the same name, downplayed any danger from Elmo.

“It’s harder for a giant red furry cartoon character to pose a big threat,” she said. “It’s not like they’re going to tear off unnoticed or elude the police for very long.”

“As disgusting as this Elmo’s anti-Semitism is, I can’t imagine any children being permanently harmed by his rant, or even by his creepiness,” she continued. “Anyone who grew up in New York before gentrification remembers what it was like when you couldn’t walk down the sidewalk without hearing someone ranting about some conspiracy. No one took it to heart. Kids are far more resilient than we give them credit for. Not every weird or upsetting incident has that much impact on them, if any. It’s part of the kaleidescope of life.”

Wilson concluded his NYT article saying that while Sandler was not in the park on Wednesday, he had managed to sneak back in the day before.

Michael Orbach

Both Pro-Israel African Americans Win NYC Primaries

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The NY Post reports that Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel overcame demographic changes in his district to win the Democratic nomination for what will be his 22nd term on Tuesday. With more than half the precincts reporting, Rangel was leading by double-digits.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries beat City Councilmember Charles Barron, a fierce anti-Israel voice, in the 8th district in Brooklyn and Queens.

We expect a full report on the Tuesday primaries later this morning from our ace reporter in New York Michael Orbach.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Sneaking into Tomorrow

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Consider the following scenario. The good (and free) food at the President’s conference is in the VIP lounge. But to get in there you either need to be a VIP, or have a VIP invite you in. Outside the room are guards preventing your entry, and direct access to talk to the VIPs is limited and difficult outside the room, particularly if you want to just ask them to get you in there so you can eat.

So what do you do?

You negotiate.

But the first question is, with whom? Who is your partner in this negotiation, and what do they want from you? Can they deliver what you want? And can you deliver what they want in return?

You can’t negotiate with the guards. They don’t want to negotiate. They have the mutually exclusive goal of keeping you out.

You could negotiate with the VIPs, but you’d have to know they are in there, willing to help and simply available, otherwise you’re negotiating with yourself (very common in Israeli negotiations, by the way).

So you happen to see a certain politician go in. Perfect. You know he wants to talk to you. Except his assistant isn’t answering her phone. So there’s no negotiating partner there.

But then you notice Dana. Dana is the hard working employee of Finn Partners, the firm who helped organize and promote the President’s conference. Her job, conveniently enough, is to help manage and organize the interviews with the VIPs.

Right now Dana looks like she has a problem. Problems mean opportunity.

Dana knows you only want to go in for the food, and she’s not about to help you do that for nothing. But it turns out that a reporter from a big newspaper (which shall remain nameless) cancelled on her at the last minute, leaving a serious and embarrassing gap in the schedule.

Now negotiations begin.

“Can you get me in to eat?” I ask.

“Can you learn enough about this person and his expertise in the next 15 minutes, to run a competent interview and not make me look bad?” She shoots back.

“Of course,” I lie, as anyone in important negotiations like this would naturally do.

So for the next 15 intense minutes, my intern Alex and I are researching some Harvard Business School professor named James Sebenius, who, as it turns out, is an expert and advisor on negotiations, and a professional negotiator to boot. Professor Sebenius heads up the Harvard Negotiations Project.

Alex and I use my last 2 minutes discussing possible questions I could ask that won’t make me look like a complete ignoramus, based on my rather sketchy knowledge of the theoretics of his field (practical knowledge I obviously have, I did manage to get us in there to eat after all).

So in we go and meet Jim (as he asked me call him).

Jim is clearly no fool, and he immediately wants to know why in the world would someone from The Jewish Press want to interview him, and not someone from say, Globes.

Now I can’t tell him it’s because we want to eat (did I mention we’re standing by the table with the hot foods), because that would bring about the immediate meltdown of a negotiation that’s been pretty successful so far.

So I explain to Jim that with negotiations so central to events surrounding Iran and the Palestinians, understanding the theory and practice that goes on in negotiations and behind the scenes would be of interest to our readers.

I think you’re getting the idea on how this negotiating thing works.

We pass by the ice cream station on the way to our table.

But first I have to run the interview (which you can read in full here).

Inadvertently, I find myself getting sucked into this intellectually stimulating discussion, though my ultimate goal of getting that ice cream from the stand nearby is still foremost on my mind.

26.5 minutes later the interview gets cut short by the Finn Partners staff, another reporter from a global newspaper is here to do her interview.

Anyway, in the end, Jim got an interview, Dana resolved her embarrassing logistics problem, and Alex and I got ice cream. Now that’s what I would call a successful resolution in a complex negotiation.

Stephen Leavitt

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Major Egyptian Party Behind Monday’s Attack?

Israeli intelligence has information that elements of the Al-Nour Party, an Islamic extremist group that controls the second largest bloc in Egypt’s parliament, called for Monday’s deadly terrorist attack that killed an Israeli civilian in the country’s south, this column has learned.

An Israeli security source said there is further information about planned attacks against tourist sites in the Sinai as well as within Israel if the Egyptian military follows through with a threat to dissolve the parliament.

The source said Monday’s terror attack in Israel was coordinated by Jihadiya Salafiya, the military branch associated with Al-Nour, along with jihadist elements in the Sinai. The source said the attack was also meant as a protest against the Egyptian military’s threat to dismantle the Islamist-controlled parliament.

Far Left Party Activist Advocated Bankrupting ‘The System’

Frances Fox Piven, co-architect of a strategy to overload the U.S. welfare system to precipitate a transformative economic crisis, was an early builder of the socialist-leaning New Party.

The now-defunct controversial third party is coming under increased scrutiny as new information indicates that President Obama was once a New Party member.

The New Party sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.

In 2008, Obama’s campaign denied the politician was ever a member even though the New Party’s own literature listed Obama as a member.

Last week, researcher and author Stanley Kurtz, writing at National Review Online, found Obama’s signed “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party while in office.

A July 20, 1992 article in The Nation magazine by New Party founder Joel Rogers, meanwhile, lays out the case for the establishment of the party and lists several of the group’s early founders and activists. In that article, entitled, “Out with the Old Politics, in with the New Party,” Rogers cites Piven as an early activist in the formation of the New Party, which he describes as a “social democratic” party.

Piven, together with her late husband, activist and fellow Columbia professor Richard Cloward, outlined the Cloward-Piven strategy, which called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system. The duo’s stated goal was to agitate a financial crisis that would collapse the U.S economy and see its replacement with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”

Arabs Beware: Selling Land To Jews Is Dangerous

At least 16 Palestinians are currently in Palestinian Authority prisons for selling property to Jews, this reporter has learned. Nine of the 16 face possible capital punishment for their direct involvement in the land sales, according to PA sources.

The sources said that of the 16 Palestinians incarcerated, seven are employees of the PA, including its security forces. Most of those in prison are housed in PA jails in Hebron, Jericho and Ramallah. The land sales to Jews include four deals in the region of Hebron, three in Jerusalem and one in the West Bank city of Beit El.

The PA sources said that the Palestinian government recently formed a unit with a $2.7 million yearly budget to investigate property sales to Jews as well as Jewish communities, outposts, and military bases that may be sitting on Arab-owned land. The unit works with nongovernmental organizations, including European-funded NGOs.

The number of Palestinians imprisoned for land sales to Jews is much larger than previous reported. In April, the news media reported that the PA sentenced to death former PA intelligence officer Muhammad Abu Shahala for a real estate transaction in the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. Under the framework of the PAs legal system, selling land to Jews is considered a capital offense.

Syria Gearing Up For Crackdown?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is preparing a major offensive in the coming days against the opposition targeting his regime, an informed Syrian government source confirmed.

The source said Assad was warned by Russia that if the coming counterinsurgency targeting the opposition is not successful in the next 4-6 weeks, Syria should be prepared for a war. The source did not say whether the possibility of war referred to Russia’s expectation of international intervention in Syria.

Aaron Klein

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Despite Denials, Obama Likely
Was Member Of Far-Leftist Party

Has Barack Obama been caught in a lie that could become a major issue in the upcoming election?

During the 2008 presidential election cycle, Obama’s campaign categorically denied that the politician was ever a member of the New Party, which sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.

The denial came in the wake of reports of Obama’s participation with the party, including one by this reporter on evidence that Obama was listed as a member of the socialist New Party in the group’s own literature. This reporter also conducted an exclusive interview with Marxist activist Carl Davidson, a founder of the New Party, who recounted Obama’s participation with the party.

Now researcher and author Stanley Kurtz, writing at the National Review Online, reports on documentation from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society that “definitively establishes” that Obama was a member of the New Party. Kurtz reports that Obama also signed a “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party and its politics while in office.

In 2008, Obama’s Fight the Smears campaign website conceded the New Party did support Obama in 1996 but denied that Obama ever joined it.

The New Party, established in 1992, took advantage of what was known as electoral “fusion,” which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties. But the New Party went defunct in 1998, one year after fusion was halted by the Supreme Court.

Obama’s 2008 political campaign may not be alone in making possibly misleading statements about the politician’s alleged membership in the New Party. The now defunct New Party’s founder, University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers, is currently denying that his organization ever had any members, thus making it impossible for Obama to have been an official member.

However, this reporter found scores of reports from the 1990s describing thousands of members of the New Party. Also, the New Party’s own newsletters lists members.

Al Qaeda-Affiliated Fighters Caught En Route To Syria

Jordan for the first time publicly stated that its security officials arrested two jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda on their way to Syria to fight against President Bashar Assad.

Last month, this column reported that there is a growing collaboration between the U.S.-supported Syrian opposition and al Qaeda as well as evidence that the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq, according to an Egyptian security official.

Syria recently told the United Nations and the U.S. that it was a group affiliated with al Qaeda, armed by Turkey, that slaughtered more than 100 civilians in their homes in Houla two weeks ago, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials. The international community has been pinning the blame for the Houla massacre on forces acting under the direction of Assad’s regime.

The information that al Qaeda is aiding the opposition is significant. Multiple reports have claimed the U.S. is helping to coordinate massive weapons shipments to the opposition. The Obama administration has denied these reports, stating that the U.S. is only sending non-lethal aid to the opposition.

In the latest development, Jordan this week confirmed that its police arrested two jihadists attempting to infiltrate the Syrian border to fight alongside the Syrian opposition. A security official from the Jordanian government told the Associated Press that the two Jordanians belong to a small extremist militant organization called the Salafi Movement. Authorities say the group numbers 800 activists, including many who fought alongside al Qaeda in Iraq.

Thirty Years Since Zachary Baumel’s Disappearance

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime faces a well-armed insurgency, this past Monday marked the 30th anniversary of the purported capture by Assad’s forces of a Brooklyn-born Israeli soldier.

Zachary Baumel was seized in Lebanon in 1982; in the past few years, information has surfaced that Baumel may still be alive and in Syria.

Baumel, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was taken along with two Israeli members of his tank crew, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, during the Lebanon War. All three were photographed in Damascus on the day of their capture, and several eyewitnesses, including a Time magazine reporter, said they watched a parade in which the tank and crew were led through a major street in Damascus and flaunted to cheering crowds. The ceremony was the last occasion the soldiers were seen publicly.

Aaron Klein

Richard Belzer Fights PC Hordes over Nazi Salute

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

“Law and Order SVU” star Richard Belzer is in hot water over what he insists was a comic homage to the late Charlie Chaplin and not, say, an expression of his fealty to the Nazi tradition.

A spokesperson for the actor told TMZ that he was in a conversation with a reporter about the Charlie Chaplin film “The Great Dictator,” and was re-enacting a scene from the movie in a pose.

Belzer tated: “My grandfather represented Israel in the UN before it was made a nation. I’m a Jewish comedian, and there’s this new thing out, it’s called satire, irony and historical reference.”

He added: “To say that a Jew can’t do that gesture as homage to Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘The Great Dictator’ is like Muslim extremists killing a cartoonist for disparaging Mohammed in his art.”

“The Great Dictator” is a comedy by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940.

Jewish Press Staff

Humanity, Liberty, Rationality: A Review of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch: Volume IX

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Looking for inspiration? Read Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. This is my general rule of thumb, which is why I was thrilled when the ninth (and presumably last) volume of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Feldheim Publishers) came out a few weeks ago.

The two speeches that I had been told would appear in this new volume – one celebrating the 100th birthday of the German poet Friedrich Schiller and another glorifying the ideals of the French Revolution – did not disappoint. Indeed, they only reinforced my belief that Rav Hirsch is truly unique among the pantheon of rabbinic greats.

One of the themes in Rav Hirsch’s writings that has always struck me is his universalism – mainly because it runs so counter to the prevailing parochialism in many contemporary Orthodox communities. Take, for example, the recent open letter signed by a number of prominent rabbis in advance of the Internet Asifa. In it, they declare that the world revolves around the Jews and therefore theorize that the Internet only entered world history to test the Jewish people’s moral character. What about the rest of the world? Are these rabbis really suggesting that an Internet that affects billions of lives only appeared on planet earth as a moral test for one million Orthodox Jews? Apparently they are.

Rav Hirsch’s writings could not stand in greater contrast to this sentiment. “The God of Jewish Teaching is the universal God,” writes Rav Hirsch in an essay in this new volume. God’s covenant with our forefathers was “only for the benefit of all of mankind” (emphases in original). In The Nineteen Letters Rav Hirsch even argues that the “universal acceptance of the brotherhood of mankind [is the Jewish people’s] ultimate goal.”

Rav Hirsch’s ode to Friedrich Schiller is filled with the same universalistic spirit. “[E]nlightenment and…moral civilization,” he says, “are intended to be the heritage of all to whom God has given breath on earth. It is the seedling of this heritage that God has planted into the hearts of mortals, and the purpose of Judaism is to be the sunshine that will cause these seedlings to ripen.”

Rav Hirsch lauds Schiller, a “sublime flower enveloped in an earthly husk,” since his poetry contained ideas that “are now increasingly germinating in mankind’s breast, where they will eventually complete the enlightenment and ennoblement of all humanity.” According to Rav Hirsch,

anyone who emerges in the midst of mankind as a herald who knows how to employ the gift of poetry to inspire the human mind with enthusiasm for all that is pure and true and godly, anyone who knows how to make man proud to be human and to enable him to recognize his God in every breath of his existence, anyone who can snatch man from the dust to have him stand upright in all his dignity and nobility, is, in the view of Judaism, a messenger of God on earth….

I quote Rav Hirsch at such length not only because his rhetoric is so beautiful, but because the universalist strain running through these sentences is truly remarkable. Would that contemporary Orthodox Jews thought of non-Jews in such lofty terms!

Rav Hirsch’s glorification of liberty in another speech appearing in this new volume – delivered on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig – is no less amazing. Many contemporary Orthodox Jews speak fondly of the “good-old days” in Europe when Jews lived in shtetls and ghettos, shielded from the allures of the outside world. They believe freedom’s advance in Europe destroyed an idyllic ideal. They essentially share the perspective of the Baal HaTanya who prayed in 1812 that Czar Alexander I defeat Napoleon, fearing the freedom and concomitant spiritual dangers that a French victory would bring.

Once again, Rav Hirsch could not stand in greater contrast. To be sure, Rav Hirsch was not blind to freedom’s hazards and writes in The Nineteen Letters that he cannot welcome freedom if the abandonment of Judaism is its price.

Nonetheless, freedom, qua freedom, is an unmitigated blessing in Rav Hirsch’s view – “a triumph of Divine justice” – and the French Revolution, which unleashed liberty on Europe, “was one of those moments when God visibly entered history” (emphasis in original). In that year, 1789, “with a light that the world had not previously seen, and with a victorious power hitherto never experienced, the sense of justice triumphantly entered into the minds of men.”

Elliot Resnick

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/humanity-liberty-rationality-a-review-of-the-collected-writings-of-rabbi-samson-raphael-hirsch-volume-ix/2012/06/07/

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