Prime minister’s win seen more as triumph of fear than democracy.
Was there ever an election that left everyone feeling so lonely, even the winners? Especially the winners?
It was Israel’s “Dewey Defeats Truman,” except only the Chicago Tribune had to live that headline down while there was almost no one who foresaw, or could easily explain, the dynamics leading to Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory.
There’s nothing new about that. The mostly liberal American media never greeted the election of a conservative Israel prime minister with anything other than fear. When in 1977 Menachem Begin became prime minister, Time magazine introduced him to its readers, “Begin as in Fagin.” Some may like Begin, said a diplomat, “but that doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous.” In 1978 Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize.
This week, The New York Times headlined, Netanyahu “Further Divides U.S. Jews,” a divide that has been routinely pinned to every non-Labor prime minister. Shmuel Rosner, of the Jewish Journal (Los Angeles), pulled out the old clips. The British Guardian headlined of the newly elected Ariel Sharon: “Sharon Divides World Jews,” just as Netanyahu now “divides.” When Sharon’s successor, Ehud Olmert, visited the United States, the Forward wrote, “for American Jews,” the visit “drove home the distance between the two great Jewish communities, not their closeness.” Even in 1958, before “everything,” American Jews were “troubled.” The day when we’re told that a conservative prime minister doesn’t “divide” American Jews will be the first.
Lady Rose’s marriage to Jewish Atticus Aldridge highlights prejudice from both sides.
Amy Sara Clark
For Jewish “Downton Abbey” fans, the hope for a Jewish subplot that began in Season Two came to full fruition last night when Lady Rose tied the (chuppah-less) knot to dashing Member of the Tribe, Atticus Aldridge.
It’s the talk of the Jew-ternet: Downton Abbey has an honest-to-goodness Jewish character. And he’s not just passing through: He’s dating Lady Rose and seems to be in season five for the long haul.
There’s more. The PBS import series doesn’t portray him as a caricature, a diamond dealer or bookkeeper or clothing store mogul. Yes, his parents are rich bankers. But they’ve also British aristocracy. Also, he’s a mensch; he met the free-spirited Rose in episode five, which aired on Sunday, when he offers to help her carry some baskets.
Is a chasidic board gutting the public schools? How two investigations came to different conclusions.
Amy Sara Clark
The conflict-ridden East Ramapo school board has had plenty of news coverage since chasidic Jews gained a majority and began slashing the budget. Public school parents accuse the board of gutting the district of property, personnel and programs in order to keep taxes low. The board, whose members send their children to private yeshivas, counters that reductions are due to cuts in state funding and that any board — chasidic or not — would be doing the same.
It’s been quite an awful week for old media. In the last few days, three once-proud and once-powerful print news organizations were sold at bargain basement prices. Newsweek was sold to a digital news company. The Boston Globe to John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox. And the Washington Post went to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.