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This week in power: Obama, Egypt, Mel Gibson, Kosher Facebook

by Danny Groner

September 15, 2011 | 6:11 am

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Obama’s “Jewish problem”
The national election is still over a year away, but discussion has already begun over Obama’s “Jewish messaging,” according to The New York Times. Is it time to worry? “Though the Democrats are still in a relatively strong position vis-à-vis Jews, they know Obama is a weak incumbent who has already lost the trust of this community,” said Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. As usual, it all starts with Israel, and the results from Tuesday’s New York congressional election could mean Obama is in store for a lot of Jewish opposition.

Israeli Embassy in Egypt attacked
Protesters in Cairo broke into the Israeli Embassy last weekend which led the ambassador and his family to flee the country. It called relations between the two countries even more into question. “The rules of the game with Egypt have changed. The policy of winks and tacit agreements of the days of former president Hosni Mubarak is now on trial and cannot survive,” said a Haaretz editorial. The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens wondered what it means for Israel: “No democracy in the world today lies under a darker shadow of existential dread than Israel. And the events of the past month ought to demonstrate that Israel’s dread is not of shadows only. Israel’s efforts to allay the enmity of its enemies or mollify the scorn of its critics have failed.” Remember, there’s Turkey, too.

Mel Gibson’s Maccabee movie
Outrage erupted over reports that Mel Gibson is working on a movie that will portray Judah Maccabee, the Jewish hero. But there were some defenders, including Brad Laidman at The Morton Report: “Admittedly, if this movie spurs on Mel’s political ascension to the point where he influences widespread anti-Semetic hatred that leads to the mass killing of millions of people of my ethnic heritage, this won’t be my proudest take ever, but as it stands now, if Mel makes a movie about Judah Maccabee and Roger Ebert tells me that its gory, but exhilarating, than in all likelihood, I’ll be paying to see it.” Sean O’Neal at The Onion’s A.V. Club had a sense of humor about the whole thing. “What better time than right now, considering the Jews already kind of hate him? It’s like a double jeopardy, nothing-left-to-lose, nowhere-to-go-but-up sort of thing.”

A Kosher Facebook option
For those who wish to do their social-networking free of the opposite sex, there’s Faceglat, a site that targets the ultra-Orthodox sect. As soon as men sign up, they’ll only get the male portion of the site and clientele, and the same goes for women. It might sound crazy to outsiders, but perhaps there’s a point here. “Would you consider joining a social network that segregates genders?” asked Marieln Loveland at Scribbal. It’s definitely a different experience, said Jeff Mills at Nerve. Still, this could take off. “I’m not sure if Matisyahu is a member, but if he is, he must have an avalanche of friend requests.”

Sex toys, modestly
The New York Post reported about KosherSexToys.net, a site that caters to more religiously- and modestly-minded adults. “Can they use the battery-powered vibrators on Shabbos? Or do they need a Shabbos Goy to come turn it on for them? joked John Del Signore at Gothamist. It’s nice to see Orthodox Jews waking up to this cultural phenomenon, said Ilana Angel in the Jewish Journal.

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