Weekly roundup of world briefs
September 27, 2019
‘Seinfeld’ will move to Netflix in 2021
By Ben Sales
(JTA)—Starting in 2021, Netflix will officially be the master of the “Seinfeld” domain.
The iconic “show about nothing,” whose episodes are currently available to stream on Hulu, will move to Netflix the year after next. It will stay on Netflix for five years.
The move comes after Netflix lost the rights to two other mega-hits that aired on NBC, “The Office” and “Friends.” But Netflix negotiated with Sony, which owns “Seinfeld,” and—yada, yada, yada—the deal was struck. Netflix also streams creator Jerry Seinfeld’s latest show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
“Seinfeld is the television comedy that all television comedy is measured against,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It is as fresh and funny as ever and will be available to the world in 4K for the first time.”
“Seinfeld,” a sitcom about four unsympathetic but lovable people living the single life in New York City, ran from 1989 to 1998 on NBC and was immensely popular and culturally influential. It was created by Seinfeld and Larry David, who are both Jewish, as is co-star Jason Alexander. (Beyond that, if you don’t understand why a Jewish publication is covering this news, watch literally any episode of the show.)
Even in the decades since the show ended its run, viewers have continued to find it sponge-worthy. According to the L.A. Times, its reruns have generated billions of dollars in revenue.
US diplomats pressed lawmakers in Ireland and Germany to oppose Israel boycott
By Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON (JTA)—U.S. diplomats in Dublin and Berlin pressed lawmakers and officials in Ireland and Germany to oppose bids to boycott Israel or the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
A State Department report delivered last week to Congress and obtained Monday by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency lists actions taken by U.S. diplomats to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel in compliance with a 2015 law mandating such periodic reports.
According to the report, the diplomats engaged senior government officials and party leaders in Ireland “strongly urging them to drop their support” for a bill that would target for penalties the importing of goods from settlements in the West Bank.
The bill passed a reading in January but has not fully completed the legislative process. The State Department document says it is not clear if the measure will advance. Ireland’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, opposes the bill, the report says, as he fears it would limit Irish influence in the region.
In Germany, the report notes that a court last year dismissed a lawsuit filed by an Israeli against Kuwait Airlines because it would not allow the passenger to board a flight. Following the ruling, the report says, “Embassy Berlin engaged senior officials,” adding that the embassy routinely “conducts outreach” to German officials, as well as federal and state lawmakers, with respect to Israel and Jewish life.
Subsequently, the parliament approved a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic.
‘Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’ donates Pulitzer Prize money to Tree of Life synagogue
(JNS)—The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has donated the money it received from winning the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news reporting to the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were shot and killed by a gunman during Shabbat-morning services on Oct. 27, 2018.
It was the deadliest attack in American Jewish history.
The publication won the $15,000 prize in April. The Pulitzer is one of journalism’s highest honors.
In a Facebook post, the synagogue said, “Pittsburgh is truly home to some amazing neighbors!”
Dershowitz: Obama broke promises made on Israel
(JNS)—Professor emeritus of Harvard University Law School and noted Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz claimed last week that former president Barack Obama lied to him about supporting Israel and is now reconsidering his Democrat Party affiliation, according to a report in One America News.
“Starting with a phone call I got when I was in Israel on a very, very noisy night from then-President Obama, he then invited me into the Oval Office to talk to him and he made me promises, which he broke. And I broke my relationship with President Obama,” said Dershowitz, according to the report.
“President Obama’s decision on the way out to allow the United Nations to condemn Israel for occupying the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism, the Jewish Quarter [of the Old City of Jerusalem], Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital access roads, was abominable, and I took a very strong position against President Obama,” said Dershowitz.
Roman Polanski’s film about Dreyfus affair wins 2nd place at Venice Film Festival
By Marcy Oster
(JTA)—Jewish director Roman Polanski’s film about the wrongfully convicted Jewish French army officer Alfred Dreyfus won second place at the Venice Film Festival.
“An Officer and a Spy” made its debut at the festival on Friday.
Polanski, 86, who has lived outside of the United States and avoided extradition since pleading guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with a minor, did not attend the festival. His wife, the French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, who appears in the film, accepted the prize on his behalf.
Polanski has come under fire for drawing parallels between his legal ordeal and that of Dreyfus prior.
Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French military, was sentenced in 1894 to life in prison for allegedly passing secrets to the German Embassy in Paris. He was imprisoned for five years before being exonerated when evidence of the prosecution’s partially anti-Semitic motives was discovered.
Raised in Poland, Polanski survived Krakow’s Jewish ghetto as a child and, after launching his film career in Poland after the war, moved to the United States in 1968.
“Joker,” which delves into the back story of the comic book villain and Batman nemesis, won the Golden Lion for best film.
NBA star Enes Kanter hosts Brooklyn basketball clinic for Muslim and Orthodox Jewish kids
By Marcy Oster
(JTA)—Boston Celtics basketball star Enes Kanter hosted a free basketball clinic in Brooklyn for Muslim and Jewish kids.
The event on Sunday was organized by Kingsway Jewish Center and the Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn to unite the Turkish Muslim community and the Orthodox Jewish community, News12 Brooklyn reported.
“It’s just so much fun to go out there and speak one language, and that is sport,” said Kanter, a practicing Muslim.
Kanter has been banned from returning to his native Turkey after being publicly critical of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey revoked his passport in 2017 and issued an arrest warrant for Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a “terror group.”
On Saturday, Kanter hosted a basketball clinic in El Paso, Texas, to show his support for El Paso and the Walmart shooting victims. Kanter and the Celtics covered the costs associated with the clinic and donated to the Victims Relief Fund.
Earlier this year, Kanter fasted for the entirety of Ramadan during the playoffs while playing as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Jewish Foundation for the Righteous honors non-Jewish Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust
By Marcy Oster
(JTA)—A U.S. Jewish foundation honored Polish non-Jews who rescued Jews during the Holocaust at an event in Warsaw.
Some 30 rescuers in their 80s and 90s attended the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous ceremony Sunday at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jewry.
“These are heroic people of exceptional character who risked their lives and often the lives of their families to save Jews during the Holocaust,” said Stanlee Stahl, the foundation’s executive vice president. “This special event is designed to recognize them and give them the proper honor they deserve.”
The event also marked the launch of a partnership between the foundation and Warsaw’s first kosher food bank, which was founded earlier this year under the leadership of Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, with the support of Yad Ezra, a kosher food bank in Detroit. The food pantry based in the Nozyk Synagogue complex will provide bimonthly food packages to needy non-Jewish rescuers—those who have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, or Righteous Gentiles, by the Yad Vashem Holocaust center in Jerusalem.
The foundation provides monthly financial support to some 147 needy Polish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, and to a total of some 265 Righteous Gentiles living in 18 countries.
Couple who met online wins Israel trip to celebrate Jewish dating site’s successes
By Marcy Oster
(JTA)—Alanna liked Nir’s online dating profile because he said he can cook, and her cooking prowess extended to warming up frozen soup.
The couple met through the Jewish dating site JWed. On Monday, they were awarded a free trip to Israel by the organization to celebrate its 3,300th match.
Alanna, 38, from Los Angeles, was divorced 11 years ago and several years later had a broken engagement. That turned her off of dating, she said in a statement on the site. Her family and friends encouraged her to keep trying. She said she was attracted to Nir’s profile, which opened with “Ladies, I’m an ex-chef and yes, I can cook for you.”
Nir, 45, from New Jersey, had logged on to JWed to delete his profile but was intrigued by Alanna’s reply: “Does warming up Tabachnik’s soup count as cooking?”
The rest is history. The couple continued chatting, met in person and recently were married.
JWed, founded in 2001, calls itself a “Jewish-only dating site for marriage-minded men and women.”
Universities seeks FBI help after website posts photos of school’s Jewish staff, students
(JNS)—Officials at two universities are seeking help from the FBI after photos of hundreds of Jewish students and staff appeared on an anti-Semitic and racist website.
Journalists from student newspapers at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and Yeshiva University in New York discovered the thread of photos on the message board VNN Forum. Past senior members on the site include Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., who attacked two Jewish community centers near Kansas City five years ago and killed three people.
A user by the name of Stewart Meadows, also listed as a “senior member,” started the photo thread in June 2018 and has since uploaded at least 175 photos of Yeshiva University students and staff. The Brandeis student newspaper discovered “photographs and names of nearly a dozen current and former Brandeis students, faculty and staff.”
Meadows additionally posted at least 70 photos of students from the Yeshiva University High School for Girls in Queens, N.Y.
Brandeis University officials contacted the FBI, whose field office in New York also received a complaint from Yeshiva University. The latter complaint was passed to the FBI division in St. Louis, which has jurisdiction over any criminal investigation involving Alex Linder, a Missouri resident who runs the forum’s namesake, Vanguard News Network.
Linder, a white nationalist, regularly endorses the killing of Jewish people and praised the deadly shooting at the Tree Life Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018.
The FBI declined to comment on the controversy, but the thread of photos was deleted from the forum by Tuesday.
Canadian government will appeal court ruling against West Bank wines
By David Lazarus
MONTREAL (JTA)—The Canadian government said it would appeal a federal court ruling that wines made in the West Bank cannot be labeled a “Product of Israel.”
A July 29 ruling by the Federal Court of Canada said that Psagot- and Shiloh-brand wines made in Jewish-controlled parts of the West Bank were not Israeli since the territory is not considered part of Israel by the international community.
Calling the wines Israeli products is “false, misleading and deceptive,” the Federal Court said.
The country’s Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act requires that food products, including wines, that are sold in Canada “bear truthful, non-deceptive and non-misleading country of origin labels.”
The Canadian Jewish News reported that Ottawa’s decision on Friday to appeal the Federal Court ruling was based on Canada’s human rights charter and other issues.
The case goes back to 2017, when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered liquor authorities in Ontario to pull bottles of wine made in Psagot and Shiloh off provincial shelves but then reversed the decision, apparently due to ”intense” pressure from Jewish groups.
Winnipeg pro-Palestinian activist David Kattenburg then went to court to press the issue.
Jewish groups are confident that the federal government’s appeal will succeed.
“It is our expectation that the Federal Court of Appeal will overturn the lower court’s decision,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
US peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt to meet in Israel with Netanyahu and Gantz
By Marcy Oster
JERUSALEM (JTA)—U.S. Middle East peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt will meet in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz.
The visit scheduled for Thursday. The nearly final results show Gantz’s Blue and White party edging Netanyahu’s Likud for the most seats in the parliament, or Knesset.
Greenblatt is one of the architects of the Trump administration’s still to be unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, which was expected to be rolled out following Israel’s second election in five months.
Greenblatt announced two weeks ago that he would be leaving the White House now that the plan has been written. He has indicated that he will be available to help with the peace plan after its rollout.