Propaganda War from page 30
An Evening With
and the Jewish Federation
September 30, 2009 • 7:30 pm • The Fox Theatre
To celebrate the launch of his newest book, Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom will
host a special charity event, and the Jewish Federation's Jewish Assistance
Project has been selected as one of only three beneficiaries of the event.
Winning Author and Humorist
Rev. Henry Covington
Rabbi Harold Loss
Pastor, I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries
$40 General Admission
$125 YIP-Preferred Reserved Seating - Orchestra Center*
*Join Mitch Albom and special guests at 6:30 for a special backstage reception
Tickets available at Ticketmaster outlets and can be ordered online at ticketmastercom
or by calling 800-745-3000
Groups of 20 or more, call (313) 471-3099 for special group rates
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September 24 • 2009
claims, and have been brushed off.
Yet the release of information that
at least 13 incidents were under
criminal investigation prior to
the July 29 publication date of the
military's report might have gone
some way toward refuting claims
that Israel was cavalier about abuse
Instead, Israeli officials have
devolved into name-calling, backed
by an array of pro-Israel NGOs and
lobbying groups that distribute —
sometimes anonymously — "back-
grounders" that attempt through
sometimes tenuous links to dis-
credit the human rights groups.
The foreign ministry recently
distributed material implicating
HRW editor Joe Stork with dis-
seminating radical, anti-Israel and
pro-terrorist material in the 1970s;
it was an odd volley from the office
of a minister, Avigdor Lieberman,
who says police investigations of
his alleged criminal conduct and
a youthful flirtation with the racist
Kach movement should not bear on
his current diplomacy.
More substantively, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
government is now seeking ways to
legally cut off foreign government
funding for Israeli human rights
The human rights groups are
not above using the law to make an
exception of Israel; HRW frequently
calls for international investiga-
tions, saying that Israel has repeat-
edly failed "to conduct credible
investigations into alleged viola-
tions of the laws of war:'
The problem with such calls
is that Israel believes such inter-
national mechanisms cannot be
trusted because they are wrapped
into the United Nations — a worry
Human Rights Watch admits is
Moreover, left unsaid is the
failure generally among Western
democracies to dig too deep when
human rights abuses are at hand.
The Obama administration report-
edly is considering a strategy for
prosecuting individuals who car-
ried out torture for the U.S., but not
those who ordered it.
Israeli army spokesmen say it is
fairer to note what Israel is doing
to prevent the recurrence of abuses,
citing as an example the introduc-
tion of the ultra-precise missiles. El
New YorkIJTA Three Jewish seminar-
ies across the denominational spectrum
will receive a total of $12 million to help
train new Jewish educators.
The Jim Joseph Foundation said it
will distribute the grants over a five-
year period to the Conservative move-
ment's Jewish Theological Seminary,
the Reform Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion and the
Modern Orthodox Yeshiva University.
Financial aid for students who are
pursuing careers in education at each
of the seminaries will get the first
round of grants.
Film Fest Counter Protest
Toronto/JTA A prominent list of
celebrities is opposing a group that has
criticized the Toronto International
Film Festival's spotlight on Tel Aviv.
Jerry Seinfeld, Natalie Portman,
Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Kudrow, Jason
Alexander and Lenny Kravitz were
among 100 artists endorsing a state-
ment against what they call the black-
listing of Israeli artists at the TIFF,
which ended Sept. 19.
Titled "We don't need another
blacklist," the statement applauds the
festival's decision to spotlight Tel Aviv
in the program's City to City series.
Visiting Israeli filmmakers "rep-
resent a dynamic national cinema,
the best of Israel's open, uncensored,
artistic expression. Anyone who has
actually seen recent Israeli cinema ...
knows they are in no way a propaganda
arm for any government policy:' the
It adds that "blacklisting [the artists]
only stifles the exchange of cultural
knowledge that artists should be the
first to defend and protect. Those who
refuse to see these films for themselves
or prevent them from being seen by
others are violating a cherished right
shared by Canada and all democratic
Filmmakers Ivan Reitman, David
Cronenberg and Norman Jewison
issued statements last week attacking
those who had criticized the festival for
highlighting films from Tel Aviv.
The counter protest is in response
to the so-called Toronto Declaration
signed by more than 1,000 filmmak-
ers, actors and academics — includ-
ing Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Harry
Belafonte, Julie Christie and Alice
Walker — protesting that by showcas-
ing movies from Tel Aviv, the festival,
"whether intentionally or not, has
become complicit in the Israeli propa-