Schwarzenegger, Russell Crowe, Colin Powell, Robert Fisk, Mussolini, others

April 30, 2004


1. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Israel
2. Russell Crowe offers aid to fire-bombed Montreal Jewish school
3. German President Rau: "Everyone knows that massive anti-Semitism is behind some of criticism of Israel"
4. Colin Powell, yesterday, at the OSCE conference: Don't cross anti-Semitic lines when criticizing the policies of Israel
5. BBC Governors admit program last year was biased against Israel
6. Holocaust Revisionist David Irving praises Robert Fisk
7. Extreme critic of Israel accuses The Guardian newspaper of putting words into his mouth
8. Europe vs. international law, over Hamas
9. Mussolini's villa to be turned into Italy's Holocaust museum
10. Rutgers Univ. president seeks apology for Holocaust cartoon
11. Columbia Univ. Investigating Bias and Intimidation in Middle East studies
12. Criticizing Israeli PR


[Note by Tom Gross]

The first two items are a follow up to previous dispatches on this email list, including:

* "Spielberg, Streisand, Roth, Libeskind: Where are you?"(April 1, 2002) (Written in the aftermath of the Netanya Passover massacre and other suicide attacks)
* "Seinfeld, Norah Jones, lead Israel support parade" (May 7, 2003)
* "Celebrities fly in to salute Shimon Peres's 80th birthday" (September 22, 2003)

[Please note that in the past four years I have run items on this list criticizing Jewish Hollywood celebrities, almost all of whom have remained silent as Jews have targeted in suicide attacks in Israel and elsewhere. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Russell Crowe are not Jewish.]


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives today in Israel, to help lay the foundation stone for the new (Simon Wiesenthal Center) Museum of Tolerance.

It is Schwarzenegger's first trip outside the US since being elected Governor of California last year.



Russell Crowe Offers Aid to Montreal Jewish School
April 27, 2004

Tough guy actor Russell Crowe was so upset by a fire-bombing at a Jewish elementary school in Montreal, he called the school to offer a donation to help rebuild its library, a school spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Crowe is in Toronto to film "Cinderella Man," a film directed by Ron Howard about the life of boxer James J. Braddock, who defeated world champion Max Baer in an upset match in 1935.

"It was a huge morale boost for the school community," said Shelley Paris from Montreal. United Talmud Torahs elementary school was firebombed earlier this month and police said a note with anti-Semitic comments was found on the outside wall of the gutted library.

"He said he was very upset about what had happened that a place of learning should be attacked that way," Paris said. "He wanted to make sure that our students knew that he was thinking about them and that he was very upset about the fire-bombing," Paris said.

The Academy Award-winning actor, who captured an Oscar for "Gladiator" four years ago, offered to make a donation to help rebuild the library, Paris said. The figure was not available.

Paris said the school hopes to reopen the library by August, the start of the new school year, and has received donations and support from across the country.

The arson attack was one of a series of attacks on Jewish targets in Canada and raised concerns about a rise in anti-Semitism. In March, vandals knocked over dozens of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in Toronto while someone sprayed swastikas on a synagogue in a separate incident.



Johannes Rau, President of Germany, at the OSCE conference on anti-Semitism, as quoted in The Guardian: "Everyone knows that massive anti-Semitism is behind some of the criticism of the Israeli government's politics in the last decades."

Colin Powell, at the OSCE conference: "It is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the state of Israel. But the line is crossed when Israel or its leaders are demonized or vilified, for example by the use of Nazi symbols and racist caricatures." []

Draft of the final declaration of the OSCE conference on anti-Semitism: "International developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism."

Tom Gross adds:

After years of arguing that some (though of course not all) of the extreme criticism and misreporting of Israel in the media and elsewhere was motivated by anti-Semitism, there has finally been some recognition of this from senior figures at the two day conference on anti-Semitism in Europe that concluded yesterday in Berlin.

The conference was organized by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with 55 nations in North America, Europe and Central Asia meeting to agree on measures to counter anti-Jewish violence and propaganda.

There were calls for the United Nations to finally pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. Germany has indicated that it is ready to lead international efforts to table such a measure. However, it is far from certain that a majority could be found among Asian countries and other European countries in the 191-nation member General Assembly.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) pledged this week to work to combat anti-Semitism across the world. Clinton said that she plans to introduce a bipartisan resolution in the US Senate condemning anti-Semitism and its perpetrators. She also noted that she will work to have the UN General Assembly adopt a stand-alone resolution denouncing the phenomenon.



As reported in today's British media:

The Governors' Programme Complaints Committee, the BBC's highest grievance body, has ruled valid complaints against a BBC TV programme which exaggerated the use of force by the IDF and claimed that the Israelis sought to destroy Palestinian history.

The programme, "Dan Cruickshank and the Road to Armageddon," was broadcast on BBC2 in June 2003 and attracted ten official complaints. In the programme, architecture expert Professor Cruickshank sought to examine the impact of centuries of conflict on its [the region's] ancient heritage, although the committee admitted that it "failed to focus on affected Jewish sites, such as the destruction of ancient synagogues in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem between 1949 and 1967."

In a statement released by the BBC, the Governors stated that the programme "fell short of the BBC's editorial requirements on impartiality", and that disparaging comments about Jewish settlers "did not consider that such speculation lay within the frame of reference of a programme about historical sites, or within Professor Cruickshank's field of experience."



[This is a follow up to "The dangers of Fisking" (November 14, 2003) and other previous dispatches.]

The Daily Telegraph diary reported yesterday (29th April, 2004) that when the Independent asked extreme right-wing historian David Irving for a quote about his plans for a lecture tour of Britain, he replied: "I will be happy to assist any journalist on the newspaper that publishes Robert Fisk."

[Fisk, who is the Independent of London's Cheif Middle East Correspondent, and has been voted journalist of the year in the UK, is an extremist critic of Israel, but is much admired by people who term themselves liberals in Britain, the US and the Middle East.]



The Guardian
April 27, 2004

James Meek (Profile, G2, April 21) skillfully and accurately compressed an hour-long interview with me into lucid prose, but inevitably some nuances were lost. Some readers, including Neville Nagler (Letters, April 24), may have been misled into believing that I was comparing current Palestinian suffering to the Jewish Holocaust. That is not what I said and I apologise if I caused offence. What I did say was that the Bush-Sharon policy, pitting the west against the Muslim world, might eventually lead to another (perhaps nuclear) holocaust.

It is still not too late to find a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but prospects are receding daily. If George Bush really wants to protect America from terrorists, then nothing would help more than producing peace in Jerusalem.

Michael Atiyah



[This is a follow up to five recent dispatches on former Hamas leaders Yassin and Rantissi.]

Writing in National Review Online, Joshua Muravchik argues that the European Union, by denouncing Israel for defending itself against the terror group Hamas, is not only acting in a morally craven fashion but defying international law:

"Each of these European states is a party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Unlike, say, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the genocide convention is a treaty, with the force of law. It is one of the oldest, and perhaps the most widely subscribed piece of international human-rights legislation, and arguably the one with the soundest legal foundation, codifying what the Nuremberg tribunal and the U.N. General Assembly in its very first session found to be existing customary law.

Article One of the convention obligates every party "to prevent and punish" genocide as "a crime under international law." The convention goes on to define genocide as, inter alia, "killing" intended "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." "

Hamas seeks the destruction of the Jewish state, and its charter says it "regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism [and] the fight against the warmongering Jews." Muravchik writes, this is "as clearly formulated a project of genocide as we have had since Mein Kampf."



[This is a follow up to:
* "Italians join Jews in solidarity Sabbath services" (November 24, 2003)
* "Poll shows 17 percent of Italians oppose Israel's existence" (November 13, 2003) and other previous dispatches.]

Mussolini villa to be Holocaust museum
The Associated Press
April 28, 2004

The former Rome residence of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini will host a museum dedicated to the Roman victims of the Holocaust, the city's mayor said.

Rome officials said Tuesday that construction of the museum in Mussolini's Villa Torlonia hasn't yet begun, but they expect the museum to open as soon as 2006.

"It's a place that has a symbolic value and an important meaning for the martyrdom of Jews in our city," Mayor Walter Veltroni said in making the announcement. Mussolini lived in the villa from 1922 to 1943.



Rutgers Univ. president seeks apology for Holocaust cartoon
The Associated Press
April 24, 2004

Rutgers University's president says the student editors of an alternative campus newspaper should immediately apologize for a cartoon that mocked the Holocaust.

The full-page drawing on Wednesday's cover of the Medium weekly showed a man throwing a ball at another man sitting on an oven at a campus fair. The text read: "Knock a Jew in the oven! Three throws for one dollar! Really! No, REALLY!"

President Richard L. McCormick said the cartoon was "outrageous in its cruelty."

Ned Berke, 19, the editor who selected the cartoon, said it was clever. "It took a serious situation and made it ridiculous," he said.

Berke, who is Jewish, said he had relatives who died in the Holocaust.

"Humor is a way of honoring them and trying to get over it and to laugh," the journalism major said. "The Holocaust has been taboo for years."

Michael Stanley, the Medium's editor in chief, was out sick and did not edit the issue, and he said he probably would not have used the cartoon. "I certainly understand why people are offended by it," he said.

The Medium receives nearly $10,000 through the Rutgers College and Livingston College student government.



April 16, 2004 - The New York Jewish Week reports that a "committee appointed by the president of Columbia University for months has been quietly probing allegations of bias and intimidation by faculty, particularly in Middle East studies."

Vincent Blasi, the Columbia Law School professor who chairs the committee told the paper, "We want to preserve a healthy atmosphere on campus. We want to make sure that classroom time is not devoted to politics or preaching by professors."

Columbia Provost Alan Brinkley added that the university is, "of course, concerned about charges of bias and intimidation in the classroom." The committee was appointed "to consider, among other things, how we might respond to such problems within the framework of our strong commitment to free speech."

The well-known composer and a Columbia alumnus John Corigliano publicly called on the Columbia administration to have the courage "to stand up to anti-Israel demagoguery in the university."

For example, in November 2002, when 78 percent of the faculty members in the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures Department signed a petition comparing Israel to apartheid-era South Africa, Columbia University President Lee Bolinger called this comparison "grotesque and offensive."

[For previous dispatches concerning Columbia University, see articles and references to the late Prof. Edward Said in these and other dispatches:

* "Iranians in Lebanon, incl. 'lawyers', 'profs' throw rocks at Jews" (March 11, 2004)
* "Singapore and India: Examining antisemitism in an honest way" (November 13, 2003)
* "Bombed Israeli bus to be exhibited in New York, and other stories" (October 1, 2003)
* "Terrorist shoots dead 7-month old girl during Rosh Hashanah meal" (September 27, 2003)
* "Suicide Bombers and Professors" (January 15, 2003)



By Shmuley Boteach
Jerusalem Post
April 28, 2004

[Extract Only]

Most Jews are at a loss as to how to combat the torrent of lies about Israel. Amid unending pressure throughout the ages, we have categorically refused to assimilate and become Christian or Muslim, and we have therefore been portrayed as weird, untrustworthy, even satanic.

But whatever the motive for the character assassination of the Jews, it's time we adopted a policy wherein every single falsehood about Jews and Israel - without exception - is combated.

Israel chose not to even send a delegation to the hearing about the security fence at the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Fair enough. Israel was concerned not to empower an international body to determine how it should best defend its citizens.

But why weren't Israel's best spokespeople on TV day and night to point out that even the pope - who has condemned the security barrier - travels around in what looks like a glass Alcatraz to protect him from assassins. And who could blame him? After all, he was shot in 1981.

Over Pessah, I was a scholar-in-residence in Puerto Rico, where I gave lectures proving that the Jews did not kill Jesus and that Israel was the victim of Arab aggression. A wise man came to me and said that he believed that subjects like these should be standard in Jewish day schools. Every Jew should be equipped, as part of his or her basic education, to respond to lies about our people.

Why isn't the true history of the Palestinian refugees, for example, taught in Jewish day schools so that when young Jewish professionals go out into the world they can respond to non-Jewish co-workers' false impressions of Israeli oppression?

The best way to combat lies is at the grass-roots level rather than even through professional PR. Jews may not use a sheet with a hole for sex. But they do need a wall without holes to stop suicide bombers.

And unless we can convince the world of the justice of our cause, they will continue to throw barriers in the path of our barriers.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.