March 25, 2004
Hollywood Welcomes Israel Foreign Minister
Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Silvan Shalom met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bevy of high-powered Hollywood stars, an achievement granted few foreign dignitaries, during a three-day visit to Los Angeles.
During the 45-minute meeting in his Santa Monica office on Friday, Schwarzenegger spoke with Shalom about trade, the rising global tide of intolerance and the governor's trip to Israel for the May 2 groundbreaking for the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Center for Human Dignity-Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem.
On Saturday evening, producer Arnon Milchan hosted a private party at his home for Shalom, his wife, Judy, and some Hollywood friends.
Joining in the five-hour party, which lasted late into the night, were the likes of power couples Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Warren Beatty and Annette Benning and Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman, as well as Denzel Washington, Kevin Costner, Angelina Jolie and Naomi Campbell.
Sharon Stone was there, as was director Oliver Stone (no relation), who has not been known hitherto for his pro-Israel sympathies.
The press was not invited, but Moshe Debby, Shalom's spokesman, reported that the dialogue between the Hollywood contingent and the foreign minister was lively and ranged across the spectrum of Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian problems.
Shalom also met with some 150 community leaders at the headquarters of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
When Shalom mentioned that his office has only a very modest budget for hasbarah, or international information and public relations outreach, community activist Guilford Glazer rose and announced that he was giving $1 million in support of Israel's hasbarah effort.
"I hope that other American Jews will join in this important cause," said Glazer, a retired commercial real estate developer.
During a Friday visit to the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, Shalom warned of growing anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe and the Muslim countries.
"Like terrorism, anti-Semitism is not only threatening Jews, but the whole world," he said.
Shalom announced that he was convening a high-level international conference in June at a Jerusalem venue on anti-Semitism and the danger it represents. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
AJC Takes L.A. Consulars on Whirlwind Tour
About 20 Los Angeles-based diplomats spent six hours on a bus March 16 to absorb Jewish Los Angeles in the first consular corps tour sponsored by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Southern California's 600,000 Jews seem, "well-organized, very strong, very accommodating, interactive," said Ethiopian Consul General Taye Atske Selassie, who toured several Westside Jewish institutions with colleagues from Argentina, Austria, Belize, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.
The AJC tour stopped at the Wilshire Boulevard offices of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which that same day was hosting Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom (see story above). The diplomats did not meet Shalom and instead toured The Federation's Zimmer Children's Museum and heard presentations from several Federation-funded agencies.
On the bus, tour guide lecturers included Young Israel of Century City Rabbi Elazar Muskin, Jewish Journal Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman and Jewish Historical Society President Steve Sass. -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer