A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
France looks ahead
France is still reeling from last week’s shooting attack that took the lives of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and now attention is going toward how the attack might impact the upcoming election. “It enabled Sarkozy to show his capacity to manage crises and put the themes of security and immigration back in the center of the political debate,” said one political operator. But there was already some concern over Sarkozy’s tilt to the right, reported the Jewish Journal. It’s too early to tell, though, said Joseph Strich in The Jerusalem Post. “Now the dice are recast and the cards reshuffled. Toulouse presents Sarkozy as presidential again, putting the other candidates in the shade. More than ever, his campaign slogan, “La France Forte” (Strong France) fits him like a glove.”
Germany’s Jewish mayor
In perhaps as symbolic a move as a political one, a major German city, Frankfurt, has elected a Jewish mayor, the first since WWII. Peter Feldmann of the Social Democratic Party got 57 percent of the vote. He insisted that he didn’t run as the Jewish candidate. “The fact that this issue did not come up in my campaign is a testament to the strength of our open and liberal city.” he said. Another Jew, Ludwig Landmann, held the position from 1924 to 1933. “Germany and myself would appreciate it if you didn’t bring up the Holocaust EVERY time Germany is uttered. Maybe like 1 out of every 2 times? Is that fair?” asked Hipster Jew.
Furor over outposts
Israel’s supreme court dismissed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “compromise” to keep a West Bank settler outpost intact. “The problem is that to circumvent the court decision by legislation, it must apply to the West Bank. Israeli legislation does not apply to the West Bank! Israel has never annexed or applied Israeli law to the West Bank,” Michael Sfard told Tablet. The New York Times wondered in an editorial what this decision means for the peace process. “Palestinians are despairing that the number of settlements and outposts are expanding so fast that they could soon preclude any chance of a two-state solution. If that is the point, Israel’s own hopes for a peaceful and secure future are seriously at risk.”
Israel vs. skinny models
The dieting craze on the runways has caught some people’s eyes, and Israel is doing something about it. Under a new law, underweight models in advertising will be banned, and they must provide documentation of a BMI of at least 18.5 to gain admission to the industry. “This is a big step in the right direction for advertisements that are more ‘real’ and other countries should start listening to their citizens and following Israel’s lead in banning too-thin models and preventing digitally altered images from attempting to portray to young people that these unrealistic body types represent the world population,” said Dhyana Estephan on the Ad Nauseum blog. But some are skeptical. “Even though it’s great that Israel is taking a stand, one government’s regulations will not impact the global culture that is fashion,” said Jazebel writer Dodai Stewart.
Park Slope vote
Late Tuesday night, the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, New York, voted against a motion that would have boycotted against products made in Israel, according to reports. It took place at the group’s monthly meeting, one that got a great deal more attention than their typical gatherings. The controversy had been the topic of some derision in past weeks. “Hummus: beloved by hippies, ultimate-Frisbee players, broke college students. Believed by scientists to diminish aggressiveness, alleviate minor depression, and aid growth. Good with pita bread and baby carrots. What makes it stick in so many craws?” asked Matthew Shaer in New York magazine. And it was also the subject of a Daily Show piece on Tuesday night, leading up to the vote. James Poniewozik wrote at TIME: “Did the show take some cheap shots for laughs? Did it play up a vocal minority over us members who just want to buy our damn organic beets and lamb shanks? Did it reinforce a broad stereotype of NPR liberals re-enacting college politics as grown-ups? Yes, yes, and yes. Was it funny? Hell, yes!”