Friday Five: Marine Le Pen, Brian SS Jensen, Michael Findler, Bob Simon, Werdesheim brothers

Marine Le Pen, who finished in third position at the French Presidential Election, gives a speech after the election results in Paris, April 22, 2012.  (Rémi Noyon via CC)

Marine Le Pen, who finished in third position at the French Presidential Election, gives a speech after the election results in Paris, April 22, 2012. (Rémi Noyon via CC)

Marine Le Pen finds victory in defeat

She didn’t make it past the first round of voting in the French presidential election, but National Front leader Marine Le Pen’s unexpectedly strong showing in Sunday’s vote constitutes a major win for the anti-immigrant party with a history of anti-Semitism. Le Pen captured 18 percent of the vote, compared to 27 percent for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and more than 28 percent for Socialist Francois Hollande. Some Jews expressed alarm at the outcome, but there was less hand-wringing than a decade ago, when Le Pen’s Holocaust-skeptical father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, captured 17 percent in the 2002 vote to advance into the final round. The younger Le Pen has tried to distance her party from its anti-Semitic roots and made overtures to Jews.

 

Brian SS Jensen is sorry about star

When Brian SS Jensen issued a Holocaust-related apology, it had nothing to do with his middle initials. The co-founder of Wood Wood, a Danish fashion company, Jensen said he was sorry for a T-shirt featuring a six-pointed star that was designed by his company and touted on Urban Outfitters’ retail website. The Anti-Defamation League complained that the shirt’s design evoked the specter of the stars that Nazis forced Jews to wear. Jensen apologized, explaining that the image was a rejected prototype design inadvertently placed on the Urban Outfitters site and that “this is no way a reference to Judaism, Nazism or the Holocaust.” Jensen however, did not apologize for the price tag on the shirt, which was originally marked at $100.

 

Michael Findler saves a life

Every time a story like that of Lt. Michael Findler pops up, we always hear complaints about how international media outlets never pay attention to stories that show Israel and its army in a positive light. Findler, a physician, used CPR to resuscitate a 12-day-old Palestinian baby girl who was brought to his army base near Ramallah. However one feels about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hopefully we can all agree that Findler’s action makes for a touching story of humanity and decency under unlikely circumstances.

 

Bob Simon asks (and faces) tough questions

“60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon is facing an outpouring of pro-Israel ire about his report on the plight of Christians in the Holy Land. Complaints have centered on the segment’s focus on Israeli policies as a cause of the decline of the area’s Arab Christian population, as well as the report’s reliance on an anti-Israel Palestinian Lutheran pastor as a key source. Some of the anger, however, began even before the show aired, with Israel’s ambassador to the United States complaining to the head of CBS News after he heard the report was in the works. Simon confronted Amb. Michael Oren in an on-camera interview, saying this was the first time he had experienced such a preemptive complaint, to which Oren replied: “Well, there’s a first time for everything, Bob.”

 

Werdesheim brothers will face the judge

Two Jewish Baltimore brothers, Avi and Eliyahu Werdesheim, went on trial Wednesday for allegedly beating a 15-year-old black male in 2010. Eliyahu, now 24, was a member of Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group, when he encountered the teen, and allegedly told him, “You don’t belong around here.” His brother, now 21, threw the teen to the ground. The case has gained media attention in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing. In a twist, the teenager asked that the charges against the brothers be dropped. "I been wanting to drop the charges all the time, I didn’t even want to go through [this]," Corey Ausby said on the stand Wednesday. But the judge denied the request.

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