What’s Up With the Jews?

Written on May 26, 2011 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies


It’s been an interesting week or two for Jews. Mel Gibson’s new film, “The Beaver,” opens nationwide in theaters and Jews must decide whether to pay good money to see a movie starring someone whose father is a Holocaust denier, and who has himself vilified Jews in public. In Cannes, the Danish movie director Lars von Trier rambles on at a press conference about sympathizing with Hitler, being annoyed with Israel and admiring Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer. Next day he recants, but it’s too late; he’s declared persona non grata at the film festival.

Then there is Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a French economist and politician who was poised to become France’s first Jewish president, imprisoned at Rikers Island after being accused of forcing sex on a chambermaid at a New York hotel. (Strauss-Kahn has now moved to a very constrained “house arrest” while awaiting arraignment, if he can find a house.) Meanwhile, on May 11 this newspaper publishes the results of a Pew Forum study that shows 67 percent of Reform Jewish households in the United States making more than $75,000 a year; only 31 percent of all households hit the same mark.

Then there are a few older stories that linger on and add to the mix. Designer John Galliano is facing trial in France and has been fired by Dior because, in the course of a drunken rant in a bar, he said to someone (who was not in fact Jewish) “I love Hitler and people like you would be dead.” Bad-boy Charlie Sheen abused various substances, cavorted with assorted women and trashed hotel-rooms for years and nothing much was done about it until he spewed anti-Semitic remarks in the direction of the Jewish producer of his hit TV show “Two and a Half Men.” In a short time he was fired and his role has been given to Ashton Kutcher, raised Catholic, but now heavily into Judaism and Kabala.

Continue reading in The New York Times


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