Posted by JewishJournal
It seems like almost every publication has a different spelling for the late Libyan dictator’s name. Here are the top 10 spellings and the publications who use them.
1) Gaddafi (Reuters, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Jerusalem Post, Wikipedia)
2) Gadhafi (CNN, ABC News, JewishJournal, Haaretz, Associated Press)
3) Qaddafi (New York Times, Fox News, CBS News, )
4) Kadafi (LA Times)
5) Qadhafi (Politico, Saif al-Islam—-Muammar Gaddafi’s son)
6) Kadhafi (AFP, Bangkok Post)
7) Qadhaffi (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions)
8) Gathafi (Middle-East-Online.com)
9) Al-Gaddafi (Facebook)
10) Cadaphi (we dare you to use it…)
Don’t get us started on how to spell Moammar (sp?)...
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October 20, 2011 | 10:15 am
Posted by Rob Eshman
The Middle East deck just got reshuffled – again.
Al-Jazeera is reporting that Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi has been killed. Footage on YouTube confirms that fact: a single clip of a quite dead Qaddafi, bare chested, lying on the ground with his eyes open and mouth finally shut. No one likes to see a fellow human dead—no, scratch that. This is a welcome sight. Libya’s future is still a huge question mark. Someone worse than Qaddafi might take his place. The country could splinter into warring factions, al-Qaeda might set up bases there. All things are possible, but this much is true: with Qaddafi and his thugocracy in charge, everything was impossible.
The Libyan people have decisively, for the time being, won their freedom. What they and the surrounding powers do with it is up for grabs, but it is a new beginning.
As for the West, it is a time to embrace this new beginning. The fact that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down there earlier this week on a brief trip shows the importance the United States places in the oil rich land. (Coincidence that Qaddafi turns up dead two days after Clinton rolled into Tripoli? Maybe those Obama people really are badass…).
Western leaders who tried to cozy up to Qaddafi should look at his corpse and learn. If the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it’s that dictatorships are a bad bet. Even dictators with boatloads of petrol and cash. The party inevitably ends, and never well.
What does this mean for the rest of the Middle East freedom movements? As our contributor Micah Halpern pointed out, Qaddafi’s overthrow does not necessarily mean Bashar Assad in Syria will be easy to oust. In August he outlined the differences:
.. it is almost ludicrous to even think about applying the lessons learned from Libya to the events that are still unfolding in Syria.
The first and most important difference between Libya and Syria is weaponry. The opposition in Syria has almost no weapons; the opposition in Libya is well armed. They are not well trained and their weapons are not of the highest caliber, but compared to the paltry supply the Syrians have, the Libyans boast impressive firepower.
The second and almost as important difference is military intelligence. The opposition in Libya benefited from the aid of British and French special forces and intelligence operatives and from intelligence gathering provided them by the United States, France and England. The opposition in Syria is on its own. In addition to having no weapons and training, they have no friends lending them military support or feeding them crucial intelligence.
While the world cheered on Libyan opposition forces, Syria’s opposition forces have few friends, no leverage and no power. They are cannon fodder for the Syrian military.
Col. Muammar Gadhafi was almost universally disdained — his rhetoric, his female bodyguards, his total disregard for human life, his active participation in acts of terror. Over the years, Gadhafi successfully offended and alienated so many people, not only in the West and but also in the Arabic world, that even Arabs wanted to oust him. He also considered himself to be an African rather than an Arab, and that also greatly upset his Arab-leader colleagues.
In the West there was a wall-to-wall coalition supporting the ousting of Gadhafi. That support spread to significant parts of the Arab leadership. Even the Arab League called for the fall of the Libyan dictator.
Assad, on the other hand, is a gentlemanly despot: educated, a physician, forced to obey his father’s orders and take up the mantle of thugocracy after the death of his brother. The beginnings of the uprising against Assad were almost totally ignored by the world media.
There has yet to be any orchestrated international protest or public outcry censoring or criticizing Assad. There are no Syrian groups in exile pushing for their freedom or lobbying for their cause on the airwaves. In contrast, there was an almost constant barrage of Libyans in exile begging for international assistance and keeping their cause alive in the media.
And what does it mean for Israel?
Libya never took part in any of the major wars against Israel, but it did provide financial and other backing for Palestinian terror groups over the years. Anti-Israel sentiment in Libya is high. This despite the fact that one indelible footnote to the Libyan Revolution was the boost it received when a young Israeli, Noy Alloshe, posted a video mocking Qaddafi for his “Zenga Zenga” speech. That video went viral and helped further remove the fear associated with the dictator.
But in the political realm, overtures Israel made to support the rebels were rejected. If you want to read some chilling language, see the comments from Libyans following a YouTube post by a Libyan Jew who returned to Tripoli to restore a synagogue there. The man barely escaped with his life. As we reported on October 10:
David Gerbi, who arrived in Libya from Italy this summer when Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi was ousted in a rebellion, agreed Sunday to return to Rome on a military transport scheduled to leave Tuesday, according to The Jerusalem Post.
On Yom Kippur eve, hundreds of protesters called for Gerbi’s deportation and carried signs reading “There is no place for the Jews in Libya,” The Jerusalem Post reported. The protesters attempted to forcibly remove Gerbi from his central Tripoli hotel, he told the Post, but were stopped by hotel and Libyan security, and government officials.
Gerbi began trying to clean up the site of the Dar al-Bishi synagogue earlier this month but said he was forced to leave the site by armed men. He said since then he has been holed up in his hotel room.
He said he had spent weeks getting permission from the country’s new leaders to clean up the site.
Gerbi, a representative of the World Organization of Libyan Jews, had told Reuters that he was applying to become a member of Libya’s National Transitional Council as a full member to represent the Jewish community and planned to reclaim Jewish properties confiscated by the state.
Most Tripoli synagogues have been destroyed or converted to mosques. Jewish cemeteries also have been torn down to make room for office buildings.
Gerbi fled Libya with his family in 1967 when he was 12 years old.
As in Egypt and elsewhere, years of propaganda have brainwashed entire populations against Israel and Jews. Repairing that damage will take time.
In the meantime, Israelis will likely take away at least two lessons from Qaddafi’s death: In the digital age, you can use the tools of social media and the Web to communicate directly with once hostile populations. And, in the roiling cauldron of the Middle East, there is little reason to rush into agreements with so-called leaders who by tomorrow may be naked and dead on YouTube.
Gilad Shalit is free and Moammar Qaddafi is dead—not a bad way to start a new year.
October 20, 2011 | 1:10 am
Posted by Tom Tugend
Norman Corwin, whose soaring plays gave luster to the golden age of radio in the 1930s and ‘40s, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 101.
The son of a Jewish immigrant from London, he was born in Boston as Norman Lewis Corwin in a traditional Jewish home, but dropped out of Hebrew school before his bar mitzvah.
Though Corwin was not observant, many of his works were infused by the concepts and personalities of the Hebrew prophets, and he wrote about Israel with fervor and admiration.
Starting as a cub newspaper reporter at 17, without even a high school degree, in 1938 Corwin started his decades-long association with the CBS Radio Network, at a time when radio was the primary medium of news and entertainment for most Americans.
Two of the most admired works of the multi-faceted writer, director and producer, still cited as classics of the genre, were the 1941 “We Hold These Truths,” marking the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, and the 1945 “On a Note of Triumph,” celebrating the Allied World War II victory in Europe.
Corwin was acclaimed as the “Bard of Broadcasting” and “Radio’s Poet Laureate,” and Hollywood’s brightest stars vied to be in one of his productions.
“There is not an actor who will not drop what he is doing to be in one of Norman Corwin’s radio stories,” actor Charles Laughton said. “We all look up to him as a writer of the greatest importance.”
During the early 1940s, CBS presented “26 by Corwin,” which required him to write, cast, direct and produce a completely new play every seven days for 26 weeks.
Corwin expressed his Jewish sensibilities in a prayer concluding “On a Note of Triumph,” which was later incorporated into the Reform prayer book.
As part of the “Columbia Presents Corwin” series in 1944, Corwin penned an ardently Zionist tribute to Tel Aviv, and in 1960 he wrote the screenplay for “The Story of Ruth,” based on the biblical heroine. In another presentation, he explored the meaning of prayer in “The Secretariat.”
In 1947, Corwin organized resistance to the congressional witch hunts with a program “Hollywood Fights Back.”
Corwin was the recipient of numerous honors, including the One World Award, Peabody Medal, Emmy and Golden Globe and received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay for “Lust for Life,” wit Kirk Douglas portraying painter Vincent Van Gogh.
Corwin moved permanently to Los Angeles in 1948 and until his 100th year taught classes at USC.
He was married to Broadway actress Katherine Locke, who died in 1995, and is survived by two children, Diane and Anthony.
October 18, 2011 | 3:58 pm
Posted by Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Los Angeles won the Agency of the Year Award from the Alliance for Children and Families, a 100-year-old association representing more than 350 child- and family-serving organizations. Three organizations are chosen for the award annually.
JFS serves more than 100,000 people every year through non-sectarian agencies that focus on the most vulnerable—children, the elderly, the impoverished, and the physically or psychologically impaired.
The award recognizes JFS’s board participation and support; impact through advocacy efforts on local and state issues; and innovative programming. JFS Board President David O. Levine and JFS Chief Executive Officer Paul S. Castro accepted the award Oct. 18 at the Alliance and UNCA 2011 National Conference in Washington, D.C.
“It is a great honor for JFS to receive the Agency of the Year Award from the Alliance,” said Paul S. Castro, JFS CEO. “Our board of directors and our staff are deeply committed to creating, developing, and securing support for essential social services and programs that improve the day-to-day lives of the thousands of families we serve each year.”
JFS’ advocates for greater awareness and political action to meet the needs of frail older adults, victims of intimate partner violence, and those of all ages facing hunger.
Over the last three years as the economic crisis has deepened and more families face the consequences of hunger and poverty, the numbers of people needing food assistance has grown and the range of issues the families are experiencing have become more complex, according to JFS. In response, JFS-SOVA Community Food & Resource Program has been brought under the leadership of JFS clinical services to provide those in need with comprehensive case and crisis management along with groceries.
To access JFS services, call 877-ASK-4JFS, or go to www.jfsla.org.
October 18, 2011 | 12:19 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
See below for complete letter.
The “anonymous” buyer of a historic letter by Albert Einstein has identified himself as E. Randol “Randy” Schoenberg, president of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
Schoenberg paid $13,936 for the one-page letter, signed by Einstein on his personal stationery and written on June 10, 1939 to New York businessman Hyman Zinn.
Einstein congratulated Zinn for aiding Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, adding “We [Jews] have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause.”
The letter had been put up for sale by the Nate D. Sanders auction house in West Los Angeles, and Schoenberg said he learned of its availability from a jewishjournal.com article, just a day before bids closed.
The highest bid at that time was $3,058, and Sanders himself estimated that the letter might go for between $5,000 to $7,000.
Schoenberg’s late entry spurred some lively bidding, until he finally clinched the deal with his offer of nearly $14,000.
Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-born lawyer and grandson of famed composer Arnold Schoenberg, is donating the letter to the museum, which opened its striking new building a year ago in the Pan Pacific Park.
He gained wide attention, and considerable wealth, by pursuing a seven-year legal battle forcing the Austrian government to return five paintings by the Viennese artist Gustav Klimt, valued at more than $325 million, to a descendant of the original Jewish owners.
Besides his policy and administrative duties at the museum, Schoenberg has been deeply involved in its financial support, the design of the building and in curating its contents.
October 18, 2011 | 10:11 am
Posted by Ryan Torok
[UPDATED on October 18, 11:20 p.m.]
Two swastikas were spray-painted in Brentwood last weekend, including one at 700 Gretna Green Way and one at a sign at a school at 11600 San Vincente Blvd., according to Rabbi Morley Feinstein of University Synagogue, who said he was summarizing a report by a Los Angeles Police Department official.
The Brentwood graffiti might have been the work of the same person or same group of people responsible for several pieces of swastika graffiti spray-painted in Santa Monica last weekend, a Santa Monica Police Department official said. No suspect or suspects have been identified in either the Brentwood or Santa Monica incidents.
The swastikas in Brentwood were painted in red, Feinstein said, like the Santa Monica swastikas.
Last Saturday, two West Los Angeles neighborhoods were targeted with swastika graffiti.
Spray-painted swastikas were discovered in Santa Monica, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, the public information officer of the Santa Monica Police Department.
Also on Saturday, areas around Brentwood were “spray-painted with swastikas,” according to an email sent out by the Brentwood Community Council.
Lewis said 12 red swastikas had been spray-painted in Santa Monica and they were likely the work of one person or a group of people acting together.
“Several buildings and street signs in Brentwood on San Vicente Blvd., Montana Ave. and several areas around Brentwood Magnet School” were spray-painted, according to the Brentwood Community Council email alert.
Both incidents apparently took place on Saturday night.
Although no suspects have been identified in the Santa Monica incident, police officials are working off at least one lead and the investigation will be ongoing, Lewis said. Police are considering the Santa Monica graffiti a hate crime.
According to the Brentwood Community Council email, “LAPD and LAUSD are investigating the [Brentwood] acts as a hate crime.” The watch commander at the West L.A. Community Police Station, which oversees the Brentwood area, could not be reached to provide any additional details about the Brentwood graffiti.
Lewis did not want to speculate about whether or not the Santa Monica and Brentwood incidents were the work of the same person or group of people.
There were no Jewish targets of the Santa Monica graffiti. The swastikas were spray-painted onto small businesses and homes around 7th St. and Montana Ave., La Mesa Drive, Georgina Ave. and elsewhere. The graffiti was reported on Sunday morning. The swastikas in Santa Monica were “about 24 inches in size, maybe a little larger,” Lewis said, and there was no text accompanying them. The sites have since been cleaned, he said.
The affected Brentwood sites have been cleaned as well, according to the email from the Brentwood Community Council.
On Monday, Oct. 17, a representative of the Anti-Defamation League said the organization had been notified about the graffiti in Santa Monica. “We keep track of random swastikas, but unless there’s a nexus with something Jewish—Jewish home, Jewish institution—we don’t necessarily say … it was targeting Jews,” said Alison Mayersohn, ADL senior associate director for the Pacific Southwest region.
Check back here for updates on both incidents.
October 12, 2011 | 6:36 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
On Sukkot, we celebrate the bounties of our harvests, and, thanks to Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, we can also celebrate eased-up parking restrictions around Los Angeles.
In line with Garcetti’s request, there will be relaxed parking enforcement all over the city, including in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and the Westside.
There “will be relaxed enforcement of street cleaning, time limits and preferential parking,” according to hollywood.patch.com, going into effect at 2 p.m. today and lasting until 10 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 15.
However, “meters, tow-away zones and other safety violations will still be enforced,” the Patch reporter Cassandra Morris said.
Special parking regulations were issued for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and will continue on Simachat Torah (from Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. through Saturday, Oct. 22 at 10 p.m, Morris wrote.)
For a complete list of affected streets, click here.
October 12, 2011 | 12:00 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
Reaction in the Iranian-Jewish community appeared divided on the guilt and punishment of Ezri Namvar, a longtime leading businessman and philanthropist, who was sentenced Oct. 11 to seven years in federal prison for stealing $21 million from four clients.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson also ordered Namvar, 60, to pay back $21 million in restitution to his victims and put him under three years’ supervision following his prison term.
Marc S. Harris, Namvar’s attorney, said he would appeal the sentence and described his client as a man of good character who had “donated millions of dollars to numerous charities, schools and medical research centers, locally and internationally.”
In a phone interview, Dr. Kamran Berookhim, a physician and chairman of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, blamed Namvar’s plight mainly on the economic meltdown and the insistence of a few creditors with forcing Namvar into bankruptcy.
Emphasizing that he was speaking as a private person, Berookhim put some responsibility on Namvar’s “megalomania,” coupled with an attitude of “if I’ve this much money, why not make more?”
Berookhim noted that his federation’s mediation committee had been ready to settle the dispute between Namvar and his creditors, but that the possibility was foreclosed by the bankruptcy proceedings.
By contrast, Abraham Assil, who said he lost $6 million in a loan to Namvar, told The Journal that the judge’s seven-year sentence was too short. “Justice was not done,” Assil said. “He should have gotten 20 to 30 years.”
Assil, an industrial real estate developer, believes that some 200 people were victimized by Namvar, “of whom 90 percent were from the Iranian-Jewish community.” Of these, 80 percent were small investors, many of whom lost their life savings and are now condemned to lives of poverty, Assil said.
“I was the man who forced Namvar into bankruptcy,” Assil asserted, saying that otherwise all of the money would have been lost or given to favored family members and friends.
“At least this way we were able to reclaim $200 million, to be distributed among the victims,” Assil said.
Assil commented that he had known Namvar for some 30 years before making the $6 million loan, with repayment guaranteed by signed notes from Namvar and his family members.
During the sentencing, Anderson described Namvar, who wept at times, as a man who had lost his way after immigrating and building a successful real estate investment empire from scratch, according to media reports.
In addition to the $21 million, Namvar is believed to have bilked investors — who put money into his $2.5 billion real estate portfolio before the 2008 market crash — of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Since many of his victims were residents of the large Iranian-Jewish enclave in Beverly Hills, some media took to labeling Namvar as “the Bernie Madoff of Beverly Hills.”
A number of elderly victims told the court that Namvar had robbed them of their lifetime and retirement savings.
In an early 2010 cover story in The Jewish Journal about Namvar’s dealings and other business scandals in the Iranian Jewish community, reporter Karmel Melamed wrote that, even after all the legal issues were settled, “There is fear that longer-term damage could persist and that the [Iranian-Jewish] community’s once stellar reputation in the business world has been forever scarred.”