Shandah time

Joseph Aaron

We really could use a lot more nachas right now. And we really could do with a lot less shandah right now.

The new Jewish year 5779 is in sight as, thank G-d, the Jewish year 5778 is winding down. Rosh Hashanah is ‘early’ this year and boy is that a good thing.

Because the year that thankfully will soon be over has been one filled with shandah, the Yiddish word meaning shame, as in Jews who act in ways that bring dishonor upon all the Jewish people. It was a year way too lacking in nachas, the Yiddish word meaning pride, as in Jews who act in ways that bring honor upon all the Jewish people.

It was a Jewish year that started with news about the mother of all perverts, Harvey Weinstein, and it’s pretty much continued to go downhill from there. Jewish name after Jewish name exposed as a sex abuser, harasser, offender, criminal.

And just this week brought the latest high profile man to be shown to be a perv. And he, of course, is Jewish.

Several women have accused Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, and one of the most powerful men in the media, of unwanted kissing and touching. Yes, not only is Moonves Jewish, but he is a descendant of the wife of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Moonves is a grand-nephew of the late Paula Ben-Gurion — born Paula Munweis. Munweis, Moonves.

So now even Israel’s founder is being dragged into the whole sex perv scandal, so populated by well-known Jews. And to add another shandah twist to the story, many believe the story about Moonves’ behavior may have been leaked by Shari Redstone, the controlling stockholder of CBS with whom Moonves is engaged in a major power struggle. Shari Redstone it turns out is also Jewish, the daughter of mogul Sumner Redstone, born Sumner Murray Rothstein.

And on it goes. One of the most prominent Jewish philanthropists of recent years was Edgar Bronfman. Indeed, the whole Bronfman family has been involved in all kinds of Jewish organizations. Well, we just learned that Edgar’s daughter, Clare, was arrested for her ties to a self-help organization that has been accused of being a sex cult.

Bronfman, 39, was charged with racketeering conspiracy in a case involving the group NXIVM. She and others recruited and groomed sexual partners for NXIVM founder Keith Raniere using “harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack perceived enemies and critics of Raniere.” Raniere himself was arrested four months ago in Mexico and charged with sex trafficking.

According to prosecutors, Bronfman used her wealth to finance NXIVM’s activities, giving millions of dollars to support the group.

And so we have a nephew of a Ben-Gurion charged with being a sexual harasser and a daughter of a Bronfman being charged with enabling a sex trafficker. Ah, feel the nachas floating away, feel the shandah covering us all.

And on and on it goes. Let’s just do one more sex shandah before we move on to shandahs of a different sort.

Probably the most prominent Jewish sociologist of our time is someone name Steven Cohen. He’s done all kinds of studies for all kinds of Jewish organizations looking at all kinds of aspects of Jewish life. He’s been the go-to guy when we try to understand what’s going on in the Jewish world today.

Well, we’ve just learned that a whole bunch  of women have accused him of perv behavior that spans decades, including inappropriate touching and grabbing, sexual propositions and advances, and inappropriate sexual remarks. Cohen has not denied the allegations.

It would be very interesting to do a sociological investigation into why so very many Jewish men have been caught up in the #metoo movement. But sadly the guy who normally would do such a study is himself a perv. The state of the Jewish world today.

Now let’s move on to Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook. I’ve many times written about why I think Facebook and twitter and iPhones and the internet are destroying civilized life as we know it, so I won’t get into that, but I will get into something incredibly stupid that this Jewish man with so much incredible power to mold minds and influence the information we receive recently said.

What he said is that Facebook would do nothing, absolutely nothing, to remove posts that deny the Holocaust because, he said, “I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”

Feel free to vomit. Does he really believe that creeps who post things that deny the Holocaust don’t know exactly what they are doing? Is he that stupid, that evil, that money hungry, that power mad, that out of touch?

Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt rightly noted that the notion that denial is an unintentional error is “ludicrous.” “Holocaust denial is no different than Sandy Hook mass killing denial,” she wrote, referring to conspiracy theories falsely claiming that the 2012 school shooting was a hoax. “It’s not a ‘mistaken’ notion of history. It is a deliberate distortion, made in the name of hatred. Simply put: Denial is a form of anti-Semitism and racism.”

And even if you want to believe that people who deny the Holocaust do so innocently not intentionally, what the hell difference does that make anyway? If someone posted the ‘n word’ on Facebook claiming to not know that people are offended by that, would that be okay with Facebook? Is anything anyone says okay as long as they didn’t distort, defame and obscenely deny intentionally?

As ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, Holocaust denial is “a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews. Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination.”

Exactly. But okay, that’s the ADL. You really know how wrong you are, especially if you are a Jew, if you get chewed out about the Holocaust by the government of Germany. But that’s what they did in reacting to Zuckerberg’s incredible stupidity and even worse attitude.

“There must be no place for anti-Semitism. This includes verbal and physical attacks on Jews as well as the denial of the Holocaust,” said German Justice Minister Katarina Barley.  She also noted that while according to Zuckerberg, Holocaust denial will continue to be allowed on Facebook, in Germany it is punishable by law and “will be strictly prosecuted.” A Justice Ministry spokeswoman said that what the Jewish tech entrepreneur “wishes or demands for the American or international market is not possible in Germany,” where Holocaust denial has been prohibited for decades.

So denying the Holocaust is not okay with the Germans, but it’s just fine with Mark Zuckerberg, who says post all of it you want on Facebook. Making it worse, his sister tried to defend what he said and what Facebook is doing, claiming that banning Holocaust deniers from social media “will not make them go away.”

I guess stupid runs in the family. No, it won’t make them go away, but it will deprive them of access to an incredibly public and powerful platform seen by hundreds of millions of people every day. Just because you can’t make evil people disappear, doesn’t mean you have to give them access to Facebook and all the people who look at it around the world.

Randi Zuckerberg then made it clear how right she is, saying “As a leader in the Jewish community, and someone who has worked at the ground floor of social media, I felt a responsibility to weigh in.”

Really, she’s a leader in the Jewish community? I never heard anyone else refer to her as a leader in the Jewish community, but I guess she is if she says so. I mean I’m sure she didn’t intentionally get it wrong.

Finally, the source of shandah that is Israel’s new nationality law, a law that has offended and alienated millions of American Jews, needlessly given a powerful new weapon to those around the world who would criticize Israel, but something that has made the extreme right wing extremely happy.

It is a law, as we are starting to learn, that is full of unintended consequences. As one would expect of a law that basically overturns Israel’s Declaration of Independence, but was passed when it was because Israel’s parliament was about to go on summer vacation so it had to be done in like two days. Starting to realize something as monumental as the nationality law might have deserved a bit more thought and consideration after 70 years of Israel living just fine without it, Israel’s finance minister told Army Radio that the law had been “passed in haste” and urged changes.

You think? One of its unintended consequences is that it has outraged Israel’s Druse community, which has always been an incredibly loyal part of Israel’s population. At more than 100,000 strong, Druse are so trusted that they are not only allowed to serve in the army and police, which Arabs are not, but they have been given some incredibly critical military missions and always accomplished their goals.

And yet now they have been told that Israel is not, as its Declaration of Independence declared it, a nation of all its citizens. Which is why in a Facebook post, a Druse army officer, Capt. Amir Jmall, wrote: “This morning, when I woke up to drive to the [army] base, I asked myself, why? Why do I have to serve the State of Israel, a state that my two brothers, my father and I have served with dedication, a sense of mission and a love of the homeland, and, in the end, what do we get? To be second-class citizens.”

If that ain’t a shandah, I don’t know what is.

1 Comment on "Shandah time"

  1. Didn’t the Bronfman family make their initial money running liquor from Canada in violation of prohibition? If this is not true my apologies. If it is, it puts a different gloss on the actions of the upcoming generation no matter how much good the older guys may have done.

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