John Podhoretz: What I learned as an American Jew after the Pittsburgh synagogue attack
On this day of all days it needs to be said: America has been a blessing for the Jewish people unlike any other blessing given any other people in the history of the world.
One crime — or 29 separate crimes, committed at the same time by a monster in human form — cannot be allowed to overshadow this extraordinary fact.
My own gratitude to America is actually greater today than it was yesterday because of the outpouring of grief and rage and common humanity we have witnessed in the response to the horror in Pittsburgh.
The philo-Semitic response to this unspeakable act of anti-Semitism reveals how American Jews are anchored in America in a way that Jews who live anywhere else outside of Israel are not anchored to the lands in which they reside or have ever resided.
We are Americans. And we are Jews. And there is no contradiction between the two. When people talk freely and foolishly and noxiously about America as having been built on racism, there is one simple answer to their libel: George Washington’s letter to a synagogue in Newport, written in August 1790.
“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship,” Washington wrote. “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
That final phrase, taken from the prophet Micah, was violated in the most obscene way on Saturday. But the story of America is a story of a country that has indeed served as vine and fig tree for the world’s most beleaguered peoples.
America has allowed us to sit in safety. America has allowed us to flourish due to its “enlarged and liberal policy” that assumes all human beings have inalienable rights.
Calls to excommunicate pro-Trump Jews are not simply wrong. They’re poison.
As Shabbat ended in Los Angeles, a city where in 1999 there was a terror attack against a Jewish Community Center, I saw this from another reporter whose work I have always esteemed very highly, Julia Ioffe: “And a word to my fellow American Jews: This President makes this possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it.”
The calculation here, I suppose, is that people voted for Trump to get an embassy move and their vote proxy murdered other Jews. How careful should one be, should a distinguished reporter be, when accusing others of such enormities, even indirectly? How do people think this message will fall on the ears of those who fled from Iran, to be told that they are in fact guilty in the death of Pittsburgh’s Jews?
Or — even more shamefully — on the ears of Judah Samet. Mr. Samet, a Holocaust survivor, escaped death by 4 minutes because he was a little late to shul. He is also a strong supporter of Trump. Frank, Julia: Would you stand before this 80-year-old man, not in a tweet or online piece, but face to face, and tell him he is responsible for the death of his friends, the people with whom he prays each Shabbat? Would you bar him from the shul where he almost died, again, at the hands of Jew haters? Really? And that would make us the righteous ones?
There is much that smart journalists and observers like these folks say that I agree must be said: Yes, we must be vigilant and aware and ready to spot and combat the virus of hatred. Yes, we must call out public voices, from the President on down, who speak in ways we believe endangers or radicalizes the population. But my congregants are not the ones who are dangerous, and manipulating responsibility to turn Jews into perpetrators is ethically appalling — and communally toxic. We can only be a Jewish people when we don’t excommunicate each other — for religious reasons or political reasons or cultural reasons. Everyone is welcome to pray in my synagogue, right or left, no matter how much I as Rabbi may object to your views. Because we do not pray as Democrats or Republicans, but as Jews. Now let us tear our clothes and mourn the dead.
The Women’s March, whose leaders have openly embraced anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, tried to lead the “resistance” in opposition to President Donald Trump in the wake of the Pennsylvania synagogue shooting Sunday, holding a “vigil” outside the White House to protest anti-Semitism.
There was just one problem: it was led by noted supporter of anti-Semite Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (and likely anti-Semite, herself), Linda Sarsour.
“Today we are turning our grief to action with @jewishaction,” the Women’s March tweeted, “to send a clear message that these anti-semitic and xenophobic attacks can never happen again.”
Notice the conflagration of terms, associating “anti-Semitism” with “xenophobia” in an effort to connect violence explicitly against the Jewish people with a broader campaign against opponents of unfettered immigration because it’ll become important later.
The Women’s March followed that tweet up, though, with a photo of Linda Sarsour addressing the crowd — unironically.
Jewish Action is the same organization that today called on President Trump to stay away from any memorial for victims of the Pittsburgh shooting until he denounced white supremacy.
Sarsour and fellow Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez are, of course, friends with arguably the nation’s foremost anti-Semite, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who regularly delivers anti-Jewish messages from the pulpit of his mosque in Chicago, and just last week referred to Jews as “termites” who require extermination.
Two of your leaders associate directly with a virulent anti-Semite. Pretty easy to start there. Doesn’t even require bus fare. https://t.co/5c62EEkEOF
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) October 28, 2018
Hatikva will be heard again in Abu Dhabi as Israeli judoka Peter Paltchik won gold in the under 100 kg weight category on Monday. Paltchik defeated Azerbaijani judoka Elmar Gasimov in the finals.
Paltchik, who was born in Ukraine and moved to Israel when he was 9 months old, began learning judo at age four. The 26-year-old judoka won his first gold medal at the “Grand Prix Cancun” in June 2017.
He also won a bronze medal in the 2018 European Judo Championships that was held in Tel Aviv in April.
Judoka Sagi Muki won gold on Sunday in the under 81 kg weight category. Israel’s national anthem “Hatikva” was played, even though sport event organizers in the Guft have made Israel’s participation conditional on it not displaying national symbols.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who was in attendance, openly wept. Following the event on Sunday, Regev made an official visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. “The whole message here is of unity and peace,” she stated.
Israel has won five medals at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
It was a successful day Sunday for Israeli Judo both on and off the tatami, with Israel securing hosting rights to one of the sports premium events just hours after its top judoka won gold in another.
After presenting the medal to Sagi Muki when he won the under-81 kilogram category at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, the first ever Gulf country to host the Israeli team under its own flag, Culture Minister Miri Regev signed a deal for Israel to host its first ever International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix event Grand Prix event.
According to the “historic deal,” Israel will host one leg of the World Judo Tour in January 2019, and another following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, opening the Olympic cycle before 2024, a statement from Regev’s office said.
“Today has made double history for us as we have won gold here in Abu Dhabi and our anthem has played and we have signed a contract to stage our first ever IJF Grand Prix in Israel. Everyone is invited to our Grand Prix including all Arabic countries and I hope you will all see that our country is a peaceful and loving nation with good food and good people,” Regev said at the signing ceremony with IJF President Marius Vizer and Israel Judo Association chairman Moshe.
Regev said in her statement that the decision had come after two years of negotiations between the Israel Judo Association and the IJF.
Israel’s culture and sports minister paid a state visit to the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, part of a historic trip that some have seen as signaling a slow rapprochement between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.
Miri Regev visited Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque accompanied by officials from the UAE, touring the the Muslim world’s third largest house of worship, after mosques in Mecca and Medina.
World leaders are frequently invited to visit the mosque, thus underlining the official nature of the trip, the first-ever official state visit by an Israeli minister.
Regev is in the country to watch the Israeli judoka team compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, which they are doing for the first time ever in an Arabian Gulf state under their national flag, after the UAE acceded to pressure from international sports officials.
“This mosque has a message of brotherhood and peace,” Regev wrote in the visitor’s book, in Hebrew. “I wish a good life and peace for all.”
In a Hebrew-language video posted to social media, Regev extolled the “wonderful opportunity” she had to visit the religious site, which she said sends a message of peace and unity.
Regev dressed modestly for the visit, covering her hair with a scarf and removing her shoes upon entering the building.
The visit came a day after Regev was moved to tears as Israel’s national anthem was played at the judo tournament for Sagi Muki, who won gold in the under-81 kilogram category at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
While much of our daily attention is devoted these days to the Gaza Strip, Israeli media have all but ignored the 62nd anniversary of the first war fought by the State of Israel after it had been established. The war broke out on October 29, 1956, and ended on November 5, with IDF forces reaching a stretch only a few miles east of the Suez Canal. They left the Sinai on December 22.
The aims of the war from Britain’s and France’s point of view were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and unseat Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had nationalized the canal and sank several ships to its bottom, to make passage there impossible. Israel, which collaborated with the two superpowers, was looking to end the constant infiltrations from the Gaza Strip of Fedayeen terrorists, who robbed and murdered Israeli settlers—many of whom were recent newcomers to the Jewish State. Israel also sought free passage through the Suez canal, as well us through the Straits of Tiran, at the bottom of the Sinai peninsula.
While its European allies were attacking in Egypt, on October 29, 1956 at about 3:00 PM, Israeli Air Force Mustangs launched a series of attacks on Egyptian positions all over the Sinai. Israeli intelligence expected Jordan to enter the war on Egypt’s side, and so Israeli soldiers were stationed along the Israeli-Jordanian frontier. Israeli-Arab villages along the Jordanian border were placed under curfew (resulting in the killings of 48 civilians in the Arab village of Kafr Qasim).
Operation Kadesh – the invasion of the Sinai, began when an Israeli paratrooper battalion was air-dropped into the Sinai Peninsula, east of the Suez Canal near the Mitla Pass. Four Israeli P-51 Mustangs using their wings and propellers, cut all overhead telephone lines in the Sinai, disrupting all Egyptian command and control. However, due to a navigation error, the Israeli Dakota (Douglas DC-3) transports landed 400 paratroopers three miles away from their intended target. Lieutenant Colonel Rafael Eitan (Raful) marched his men towards Jebel Heitan, where they dug in while receiving supplies of weapons dropped by French aircraft.
On November 16, 2012, Somali-born Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), who’s currently running for the state’s 5th Congressional District seat, sent out the following tweet:
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
In May of this year, Twitter user John Gilmore dug up the six-year-old tweet, forcing Omar to defend herself.
She responded: “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.”
In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D., N.M.) dodged the charge thrown at him by NRCC Chairman Rep. Steve Stivers (R., Ohio) that the DCCC supports anti-Semitic or bigoted candidates such as Leslie Cockburn and Scott Wallace.
“We are the only major party committee to cut off a candidate for their behavior,” Stivers said. “Seth Grossman who said bigoted things, we cut him off…The DCCC continues to support Leslie Coburn and Scott Wallace who have said bigoted and anti-Semitic things.”
“Congressman Lujan, Congressman Stivers says you have continued to back people who have trafficked in hate speech. What say you?” asked host Chuck Todd.
“First off, that’s simply not true,” Lujan began, before continuing,”but look…another senseless act of hate has stricken yet another community and a place of worship and the Congress has a responsibility to act to keep the people safe…[We] need to rise above all the accusations and the hate and the finger pointing.”
The Free Beacon previously reported about Cockburn’s antisemitic remarks and views.
Cockburn has been branded a “virulent anti-Semite” by Virginia Republicans due to a 1991 book she wrote on Israel that, according to the New York Times, is “largely dedicated to Israel-bashing for its own sake.”
“Its first message is that, win or lose, smart or dumb, right or wrong, suave or boorish, Israelis are a menace,” the Times wrote. “The second is that the Israeli-American connection is somewhere behind just about everything that ails us.”
Labour has dropped its complaint against the Daily Mail over its coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried.
The party complained to the Press regulator in August about several papers’ coverage of the 2014 event.
Last night it emerged it had told the Independent Press Standards Organisation that it did not wish to take the case against the Mail any further.
The decision will be seen as a vindication for the Mail’s original story, which concerned a photo, obtained by this paper, of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath only feet away from the graves of terror leaders linked to the 1972 killings.
The picture was among a number taken during a service to honour Palestinian ‘martyrs’.
Buried in the cemetery in Tunisia are members of Black September, the terror group which massacred 11 Israeli athletes.
Jeremy Corbyn could face US sanctions over ‘terrorist support’. Dershowitz: “We’ve never had a situation where a leading politician [in the West] has been so close to a terrorist group”. https://t.co/uriJatS4sm
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ ⋁ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) October 28, 2018
Reversing its longstanding opposition to capital punishment, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the death penalty is admissible in cases when the defendant does not accept Prophet Muhammed as his or her savior.
“While we remain generally opposed to any government ending the lives of even the worst criminals, people who reject the divinity of the Prophet Muhammed, May Peace Be Upon Him, could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace,” the recent ruling stated. “In these unique cases in which the defendant will not acknowledge that ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is his Prophet,’ death may in fact be the most humane remedy.”
The ECHR’s decision follows a previous ruling concluding that charges filed against an Austrian woman for criticizing Muhammed did not violate her protection granted by Freedom of Speech. While the ruling baffled many free speech defendants, some activists argued that the court did not go far enough.
“I am glad that this blasphemer is facing a fine and jail time,” Women’s March founder Linda Sarsour tweeted. “But I don’t understand why she still gets to keep her vagina.”
Dear Commissioner Lucki,
This is a formal statement of complaint and I am willing to testify in court to the material contained in this report. The first twenty pages of this document contains the complaint itself and the direct relevant information. The remainder of the document contains supporting, explanatory or supplementary information.
The complaint is that Members of Parliament of the Government of Canada are using their official positions to channel taxpayers’ money to Islamic Relief Canada (IRC). The IRC is a federally registered charity, so the taxpayer is subsidizing this activity. IRC in turn is sending millions of dollars to Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). Seven independent and reliable sources have gone on the public record and stated that IRW uses charitable funds to provide material support to terrorism. In most cases, this means Hamas, an organization which is listed as a terrorist entity by the Government of Canada.
Funding terrorism is a criminal act according the Criminal Code of Canada.
I am a court expert in terrorism in both the Federal and criminal courts. I have spent years working in the military and intelligence communities, including several years spent at the RCMP (A-INSET). I was working for the RCMP in a national security intelligence role during the Momin Khawaja investigation when I was first qualified as a court expert. At other times, I have worked for the Canadian Armed Forces, the Privy Council Office (Intelligence Assessment Secretariat) and I have been a Senior Fellow at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Military service overseas involved time spent in Croatia and Bosnia during the Yugoslav War.
As you will note, all the sources of information here are public…
Denmark won’t fund organizations that have ties to terrorists, engage in attempts to boycott Israel or question its right to exist, the government said in what activists called a significant step.
Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced the new policy earlier this month is a document titled ”Explanations about the conditions for Danish support for Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations.” It follows a foreign ministry audit launched last year amid growing discontent over politicization and abuse of Danish aid funds.
“The use of Danish funds for political purposes, including BDS activities, is unacceptable,” read the guidelines, using the acronym of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
The other four guidelines mandate the defunding of any recipient caught “associating with a terrorist movement” or funding it; violating human rights principles or “questioning Israel’s right to exist.”
Olga Deutsch, the director of the Europe Desk at NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based organization that investigates funding for organizations active on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, commended the Danish move.
Officials at a Toronto private school say they “deeply regret” that some parents were offended after a play accused of containing “gratuitous anti-Semitic” content was performed for students.
On Monday, two dozen parents of students attending Bishop Strachan School – an all-girls private day and boarding school – sent a letter to the boards of governors and trustees to share their objections to an adaptation of the play “The Merchant of Venice” that was presented to Grade 11 students by a U.K. theatre company last week.
In a copy of the letter provided to CTVNews.ca by one of the parents, the group said the production missed the mark in its attempt to link anti-Semitic messages in Shakespeare’s play to those used by Hitler during the Holocaust.
“Instead, Box Clever [the theatre company] materially exaggerated the anti-Semitic sentiment of the original version of the play and sadly introduced the Holocaust in a humorous light that minimized its impact and offended many of the Jewish students whose families were personally affected,” the parents wrote.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Lara Alqassem Blending In Among Heb. U Faculty (satire)
An American anti-Israel activist whose expulsion from the country was overturned by the High Court began her studies today at the Hebrew University, where her radical politics and opposition to Jewish sovereignty made her difficult to distinguish from the majority of lecturers on staff at the institution.
Lara Alqassem rode a series of successful appeals to have a deportation order canceled, despite evidence that she had led a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, an anti-Israel group often involved in threatening behavior toward Jews on college campuses in the US. As the fall semester launched this week, Ms. Alqassem had the mistaken impression that she would stand out, only to discover her dismissal of Jewish ties to their ancient homeland dovetails with the views of a good number of faculty at Hebrew U.
“I thought I’d be more conspicuous,” she admitted. “I did, after all, campaign on behalf of Rasmeah Odeh, who murdered two students from this same university. But apparently that’s not enough to make you stand apart from the crowd in academia these days, not even Israeli academia. I thought all the like-minded folks were at Tel Aviv University, or maybe Ben-Gurion over in Beer Sheva, but it turns out there’s no shortage of kindred spirits right here.”
On October 25th an article by Chris Bell titled “Gaza protest image likened to famous Delacroix painting” appeared on the BBC Trending blog and the ‘Middle East’ page of the BBC News website.
Readers were told that:
“It’s a picture which has spawned thousands of words online.
Captured by photojournalist Mustafa Hassona, a bare-chested Palestinian holding a large flag wields a sling over his head in Gaza on Monday.
It was snapped amid violent protests on a beach close to the border with Israel. Demonstrators burnt tyres and threw stones at Israeli forces, who responded with tear gas and live fire. Gaza’s health ministry said 32 Palestinians were wounded.”
Readers did not discover until towards the end of the article that “Gaza’s health ministry” is run by the same terror group that organises and facilitates the violent rioting now in its seventh month.
Neither were they informed that in addition to burning tyres and throwing stones, the rioters on that beach on October 22nd engaged in additional activities which – had Bell bothered to mention them – would have helped audiences understand why the use of live fire was necessary.
“On October 22, 2018, the 13th mini-flotilla sailed towards Israel’s naval border. About 20 small boats set sail from the Beit Lahia shore. The mini-flotilla was accompanied by a demonstration on the beach, in which about 5,000 Gazans participated. During the demonstration rioters threw IEDs and hand grenades at IDF forces. Several rioters tried to approach the security fence but returned to the Gaza Strip. The ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that about twenty people had been injured in the demonstrations north of Beit Lahia.”
For the 5th time in less than a year, UK Media Watch has prompted a correction in the British media to the false claim that there are “settler-only roads” in the West Bank. The latest such claim was in an op-ed at the Independent by Sophia Brown, a London-based academic (Israel’s assault on Palestinian universities is a threat to human rights and a tragedy for this generation of students, Oct. 22), as we noted in this tweet:
Contrary to your claim (snapshot below) @IndyVoices, there are no “settler-only” roads in the West Bank.
Note that @guardian recently corrected the same error in an article.
— UK Media Watch (@UKMediaWatch) October 21, 2018
We followed up with an email to Indy editors, demonstrating that there have never been “settler-only” (or “Jews-only”) roads in the West Bank”. Editors upheld our complaint and corrected the sentence, which now reads as follows:
Whilst the new sentence, which replaced the false claim that there are “settler-only roads” with the claim that there are “roads which are closed to Palestinians”, is technically accurate, we should stress that the overwhelming majority of West Bank roads are open to both Israeli and Palestinian traffic. According to pro-Palestinian NGOs, only 40 km of roads in the entire West Bank are restricted to Palestinians. To place this restriction on Palestinians in context, Israelis are forbidden to drive on all roads in the PA controlled West Bank (Area A).
An Italian far-right activist sparked outrage by wearing a T-shirt with a cartoon-like logo reading “Auschwitzland” at a rally in fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s hometown.
Selene Ticchi wore the T-shirt to a rally Sunday in the northeast town of Predappio. Media described her as an activist with the neo-fascist Forza Nuova movement and an organizer of the rally. Mussolini was born in Predappio and is buried there, and his tomb is a pilgrimage site for right-wing supporters.
The rally is an annual event marking the anniversary of the “March on Rome,” an organized mass demonstration that led to Mussolini and his National Fascist Party taking power in October 1922.
Photos of Ticchi wearing the T-shirt went viral, triggering online protest in a country where “apology for fascism” is banned.
Charities are set to receive a £1.7 million funding boost in next week’s Budget to help fight against rising anti-Semitism by educating students about the horrors of the Holocaust. The funding will enable student visits to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as well as supporting visits from Holocaust survivors to schools to enable students to hear first-hand testimonies.
The Community Security Trust reported a record-high 1,382 incidents of anti-Semitism in the UK last year while two in five British Jews have said they would “seriously consider” emigrating if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister. At least one party is taking the problem seriously…
Al Sharpton spoke at this interfaith rally in NYC after the massacre in Pittsburgh. Al. Sharpton. To raise voices against anti-Semitism. Al Sharpton. https://t.co/2tMYrCH1ag
— Karol Markowicz (@karol) October 29, 2018
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s largest aerospace and defense company, said Monday it has won a tender for a “mega-contract” worth $550 million with the army of an Asian country to provide its “Sky Capture” Air Defense system.
Sky Capture is a command and control platform, which transforms the customer’s existing air defense systems into “highly accurate and effective”ones, with advanced command and control capabilities as well as information based on multiple sensors, including advanced fire control and detection radars, electro-optical sensors all made by IAI and its subsidiary ELTA Systems.
The command and control system provides accurate target data for the interceptors and manages the threat and firing detection in an optimal manner, based on the target type, IAI said in a statement.
The system developed at IAI provides short-range aerial defense for army forces, headquarters, bases and strategic assets against a broad range of airborne threats through cannon control, the statement said. IAI competed against “several defense leaders” in the tender, the Israeli company said.
Boaz Levi, IAI’s executive vice president and general manager of Systems, Missiles & Space Group, said that “Sky Capture combines several aerial interception methodologies, reflecting the extensive capabilities of IAI’s air defense know how. The system sold under this contract uses air defense cannons and is also designed, if needed, to manage short-range missiles and laser interception systems.”
Professional basketball player Chris Smith opened up about the role Judaism plays in his life in a new YouTube video uploaded on Wednesday.
In the clip, posted by the website Jew in the City, the former NBA player said he started playing basketball at a very young age as part of a league in Lakewood, NJ, alongside his older brother J.R., who now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lakewood has a large Orthodox Jewish population and growing up Chris did not know much about Jews, but was interested in learning about their culture. He said, “I always wondered who are these people with these black hats. I didn’t know who these people were, what they did and why they wore these outfits when it was like 100 degrees.”
When Chris, whose Hebrew name is Ariel, played for the New York Knicks, one of his teammates were Amare Stoudemire, who lives a Jewish lifestyle and is the son of “Hebraic” parents. Stoudemire would bring Jewish books to the locker room and they piqued Chris’ interest. Chris also saw Stoudemire wear tzitzit and said he “admired” his teammate for sporting it under his clothes.
“When I put it on and I wear it, I just feel unstoppable,” Chris said about wearing tzitzit himself.
The YouTube clip also introduces Jewish sports agent Daniel Hazan, a friend of Chris’ who continuously invited the basketball player to Shabbat dinners and accompanied him on a trip to Israel, all of which got Chris closer to Judaism. Chris said, “I’m hanging out with Dan, I’m going to all these dinners, I’m meeting all these people, I’m actually learning what’s really going on, and then it just hit me: Ok, this is what I want to do. [And] my family is 100 percent supportive of me.”
How much does the world really know about David Ben-Gurion? Not as much as Richard Trank, the Academy Award-winning director, would like them to know.
More than three years ago, Trank – who has partnered with the Simon Wiesenthal Center on more than a dozen films – set out to create a documentary on Israel’s legendary first prime minister.
In early 2016 he flew to Israel to interview former president Shimon Peres, one of a small number of Israelis alive at the time who personally knew Ben-Gurion.
“I said to him, Mr. President, when you’re ready I would love to make a film about your life,” Trank recalled in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post. “And his response was: ‘Who would be interested in seeing such a film?’”
But the director convinced Peres to go ahead with the film, and Trank filmed about 50 hours of interviews with him before his death at age 93 in September 2016. That film, Never Stop Dreaming, narrated by George Clooney, was completed earlier this year, and Trank is waiting to release it on the film festival circuit.
But he has turned his attention back to veteran statesman Ben-Gurion, the man who devoted his life to the creation of the modern State of Israel.
“There really hasn’t been a film about Ben-Gurion that I’ve ever seen, done like that,” said Trank, who won an Oscar in 1997 for The Long Way Home, the story of Jewish refugees after the Holocaust, narrated by Morgan Freeman. The director was also behind 2010’s Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny and 2012’s It Was No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl – both narrated by Ben Kingsley. He also adapted Yehuda Avner’s book The Prime Ministers into two documentaries in 2013 and 2015. But he believes it is high time to focus on the long, colorful life of Ben-Gurion.
The 2019 Eurovision in Tel Aviv will operate under the slogan “Dare to Dream,” it was revealed on Sunday.
A visiting delegation of European Broadcasting Union officials unveiled the slogan alongside Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an event in Jerusalem Sunday evening.
“It’s about inclusion, It’s about diversity. It’s about unity,” said Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision song contest. “The slogan for Eurovision 2019 is Dare to Dream.”
Sand and Frank-Dieter Frieling, chairman of the Eurovision competition, arrived in Israel Sunday for the first official visit since Tel Aviv was announced as the host city last month.
“We at KAN already know that dreams do come true,” said the KAN public broadcaster CEO Eldad Koblenz on Sunday. “Like we proved at the World Cup, we know how to do quality and innovative public broadcasting for free for all the citizens of Israel – and we are daring to dream about a sweeping and accessible Eurovision on all platforms for millions in Israel and around the world.”
Koblenz added that the Eurovision, “more than it is important to KAN, is important to Israel and to its image, and we expect to work closely with all the relevant parties.”
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