Gerald Scarfe’s bad cartoon timing
It might have been just another example of a European newspaper cartoon that veered too close to age-old libels against the Jewish people, published and quickly forgotten. But Gerald Scarfe’s portrait of Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall with the blood of Palestinians appeared in the Sunday Times on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and reaction was swift. Jewish groups condemned the artist in harsh terms, eventually leading Rupert Murdoch, the Times publisher, to tweet that that the cartoon was “grotesque” and demand an apology. Scarfe eventually made one — not for the cartoon, but for the timing.
Drew Barrymore raising kid ‘traditionally Jewish’
Drew Barrymore, the former child star who stole America’s heart in her breakout role in Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.,” now has a child of her own. During an appearance on “The View” last Friday, Barrymore announced that she’s planning to raise daughter Olive “traditionally Jewish.” The actress married art dealer Will Kopelman seven months ago in a wedding presided over by a rabbi under a chuppah. Barrymore said she hasn’t converted “yet,” but she’s quite pleased with her new husband’s religion. “It’s a beautiful faith and I am so honored to be around it,” she said. “It’s so family-oriented and beautiful and I learn so much and the stories are beautiful, it’s incredibly enlightening.”
Jonathan Hayoun wins round against Twitter
The French court ruling last week that Twitter must identify the authors of scores of anti-Semitic tweets has thrust the courts into the dicey politics of Internet hate-speech. But for Jonathan Hayoun, president of the French Union of Jewish Students, which filed the original complaint that led to the ruling, the decision was an unvarnished victory. “It reminds victims of racism and anti-Semitism that they are not alone, and that French law, which protects them, should apply everywhere, including Twitter,” Hayoun said in a statement. Twitter, which had been negotiating with European anti-racism NGOs over its policies toward hate speech, was required to disclose the identities or face a daily fine. The company is considering its response.
Ron Gamzu halts contraception practice
The Israeli television report on Dec. 8 was damning: Israeli health workers, it alleged, had administered a long-lasting contraceptive shot to Ethiopian women against their will. Israeli human rights groups cried foul, and on Jan. 20, Health Ministry Director General Ron Gamzu ordered the practice halted. The allegations about underhanded contraceptive coaching go back to treatments administered in Ethiopia before the women immigrated to Israel. Gamzu’s order requires doctors not to renew prescriptions of the contraceptive “to women of Ethiopian origin or any other women who, for whatever reason, may not understand the treatment’s implications.”
Ophir Ben-Shetreet sings song of “sin”
When Ofir Ben-Sheetrit tried out for Israel’s version of “The Voice,” she broke a school rule regarding a Jewish religious prohibition against women singing in public. When other students’ parents complained, the school slapped her with a two-week suspension (agreed to by her parents). But Ben-Sheetrit doesn’t sound very recalcitrant. “I think the Torah wants us to find ways to be happy,” Ben-Sheetrit said. “The Torah wants music to make people happy, and I think it’s possible to do both, which is why I came to the show.”