Jewish Journal

This week in power: Ron Paul, Israeli policy, Beit Shemesh, TV station

by Danny Groner

December 29, 2011 | 4:55 am

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

Ron Paul under fire
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is getting support from questionable sources that have some Jewish voters worrying even more about Paul’s recent surge in the polls. “If Ron Paul takes Iowa GOP Jews might be somewhat embarrassed, but the real loser would be the state of Iowa,” said Shmuel Rosner in the Jewish Journal. The bottom line is that “A great year for Paul might even give President Obama a chance to do better than he did in 2008 with Jewish voters.” But Paul could be good for Jews for the same reason he could be good for all Americans, said Gabriel Martindale at the Algemeiner: “To be blunt, it won’t do much good having America backing Israel to the hilt if America is in precipitate economic collapse.” Jewish Republicans have taken a stand against him nonetheless, and it’s “too bad the rest of the party doesn’t share that sense of decency,” said Douglas Bloomfield in The Jewish Week.

Controversial firing
The Truman National Security Project let go former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block after he attacked several progressives. “Block had sent out an email to a neoconservative listserv in which he said, referring to writers at the Center for American Progress and Media Matters, ‘These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.’ That was further than Block had gone publicly and it was a particularly serious charge; he also urged journalists on the listerv to ‘amplify’ the attacks,” reported Salon’s Justin Elliott. Bloggers went back and forth about whether the attacks were justified.

The world was taken this week by the story of 8-year-old Naama Margolese who says that on her way to school in Beit Shemesh she has encountered ultra-Orthodox extremists who have spat on her. “When I walk to school in the morning I used to get a tummy ache because I was so scared ... that they were going to stand and start yelling and spitting,” she told the Associated Press. “They were scary. They don’t want us to go to the school.” “Underneath the clothes, they are no different from any other group of testosterone-poisoned bullies, weak and mean of spirit, wary of exposure, hiding unspeakable urges behind terrible acts,” said Bradley Burston at Haaretz. The message has spread worldwide, too. “But the larger lesson I take away from this is that society is rarely better off when fanatics –religious or political or of any other ideological persuasion – are allowed to dictate the way everyone else will live and to take away someone else’s rights. That holds as true for some of what has been happening lately in the United States as it does for what is going on in Israel,” said Andrea Johnson in the Minot Daily News.

TV station’s last legs?
Israel Channel 10 is “fighting for its life,” according to The New York Times, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hostility toward it may have a part in the downfall.  “The fight over Channel 10 is partly a matter of revenge — Netanyahu wants to make them pay for what they did to him,” said one member of Parliament about the channel’s harsh reports about Netanyahu’s spending. American Thinker’s Leo Rennert sees it differently, though: This is part of an “all-out New York Times campaign against conservative, right-of-center institutions - whether in the U.S. or in Israel.  For example, since Rupert Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal and turned it into a successful competitor to the Times, the Sulzbergers have gone after him, milking every jot and tittle of a hacking scandal at a Murdoch-owned British tabloid.  There’s still plenty of pugnacity in the Old Lady.” He continued: “The left, including the Times, is determined to retain command of cultural and media agendas.  It’s ready to use every trick of the trade against right-leaning actors - whether it’s Murdoch in the New York press wars or Netanyahu allies when they push back against Israel’s dominant left.”

Hottest Jewish women
Complex.com unveiled this week its list of the 50 hottest Jewish women. What did the masses think? “Bad puns aside, there’s something very unsavory about the compilation, in that it’s the most recent instance of what seems to be a growing media fixation on Jewish women,” said Naomi Zeveloff at The Jewish Daily Forward. “By discarding old stereotypes and simultaneously setting Jewish women apart, Complex.com is telling men to pay attention to Jewish women just because they’re Jewish.” Yet some were pleased with the list anyway. “Although there are some converts, there’s a smorgasbord of hotness in that list,” said one commenter at SportsInferno.com.

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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