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How the Grand Theorist of Holocaust Denial Robert Faurisson and the OId Moles Suckered Noam Chomsky Into a Web of Lies

On April 12, just now, Robert Faurisson suffered one more minor legal defeat in a French court, which is good news, in a small way, for the world, and, in a bigger way, for the newspaper Le Monde. The court ruling means that, in France, you can denounce Faurisson as a “professional liar” and a “falsifier of history.” And you do not have to worry about a defamation suit—which is good news for Le Monde because, back in 1978, the editors made the insane error of judging Faurisson to be a man-with-an-idea-worth-debating, and they welcomed him into their pages. Faurisson is of course the theoretician of Holocaust denial. He contributed to Le Monde an “ideas” piece titled “The Debate Over the ‘Gas Chambers,’ ” with the extra quotation marks signifying his belief that Nazi gas chambers are a Zionist lie. And Le Monde has needed, ever since, to make the point over and again that publishing his article was a big mistake, and Faurisson is, in fact, a professional liar and a falsifier of history. The judicial ruling reinforces the point yet again. It is good. We should applaud. But it is sobering to reflect that, 40 years later, the point does need reinforcement, and Faurisson, who is a minor screwball, has had major successes in different corners of the world. And falsification of history turns out to be a factor in history.

The provenance of Faurisson’s ideas is altogether curious. He derived them principally from a sad-sack leftwing pacifist in France named Paul Rassinier, whose misfortune during World War II was to be arrested and tortured by the Germans, which permanently ruined his health. He was jailed in two camps, Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora, where conditions were bad. He was beaten by the SS. When he emerged, though, he explained and re-explained at book length that, even if conditions in the camps were less than good, neither were they especially terrible, and Germany’s conduct during the war was no worse than any other country’s. Germany ought not to be demonized. And the truly evil people in the camps were the Communist prisoners. And the Jews were responsible for the war.

Continue reading “How the Grand Theorist of Holocaust Denial Robert Faurisson and the OId Moles Suckered Noam Chomsky Into a Web of Lies” at…

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Behind the Scenes of the New Yiddish ‘Fiddler’

At a rehearsal studio in midtown, a team of creatives and managers prepared for the open call. There were few indications that the auditions were for roles in Fiddler on the Roof, but off to the side, like a Chekhov’s gun, sat a glass bottle next to a black, brimmed hat (to be used, presumably, in Chekhov’s callback). But for now, the mission was for male dancers to learn the choreography for “L’Chaim,” and, to show off ballet skills, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”
Nearly twenty young men, most of whom were not Jewish, filed into the room in rehearsal clothing. Choreographer Staś Kmieć quickly ran through the steps, and within minutes, the dancers were trying it without him in small groups.
Energy in the room was high; not only is this Fiddler set to be a major off-Broadway show, but its director is theater legend Joel Grey. Plus, there’s a twist— the production is part of the National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene, and will be performed entirely in Yiddish.
The group of would-be cast members was far from everyone; another throng would take their turn soon, and there were already callbacks scheduled for select actors from prior auditions. The show doesn’t open till the summer, but interest from patrons and performers alike has been overwhelming.
Perhaps it’s the recognizable brand; there’s always a Fiddler on the Roof playing somewhere. And of course, the announcement of Grey as the production’s director built up buzz. And while the Folksbiene has been active for more than a century, it’s been especially prominent lately; its recent musicals, The Golden Bride and The Golden Land (a lot of gold!) both had successful runs. Whatever the cause, the excitement was palpable.
“We never expected such a response,” expressed Zalmen Mlotek, the artistic director of the NYTF.
The dancers had an hour break, and looked ahead to their musical and acting auditions to come. Jeff Tierney, one of the hopefuls, isn’t Jewish, but has been in productions of Fiddler twice, and has an abiding love for the show.
“It’s a little unfortunate that it’s still relevant,” he said. From women’s rights to education, to an authority discriminating against a religious group, it felt sadly familiar to him. “That’s worse than what’s going on in America, but the gap is slowly, but surely…”
Tierney is nervous about tackling the show’s Yiddish, but has already committed some of it to memory, and his accent sounds good. (The show’s team is looking for “quadruple threats,” with the language ability rounding out the usual acting/singing/dancing combo.)
Of course, being Jewish doesn’t necessarily give you an edge. Also at the call was performer Spencer Perdeck. Perdeck grew up with the occasional Yiddish phrase at home, but like most American Jews, he doesn’t speak the language. He has auditioned for NYTF in the past, excited for the chance to perform, but also drawn to its mission: “This would be a good chance to see what Yiddish is about,” he said. (Unlike Tierney, and many, many Jewish children, Perdeck has somehow never been in a production of Fiddler in any language.)
Despite the show’s ubiquity, members of the production team are not relying on the iconic staging and design, or Yiddish as a gimmick, to tell the story of the Jews of Anatevka.
“We’re letting the story lie bare on stage,” said Kmieć, who suggested that those expecting a folksy, charming revival may want to look elsewhere. While the staging will pay an homage to the iconic Jerome Robbins version (whose estate signed off on this production), Kmieć referenced Chekhov and Brecht as inspirations for this production.
As to who will have that bottle on their head remains to be seen, but the matter will be settled soon; rehearsals begin early June, performances of the show (with both English and Russian subtitles) run July 4th through August 26 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan.

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Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mariano Rivera, and Chuck Schumer Make Their Pitch for Yeshiva University

Today, Yeshiva University launched its annual Giving Day campaign with a splash, marshaling a constellation of stars to make the case for the Modern Orthodox school. “Yeshiva are amazing neighbors here in Washington Heights, and they have programs that benefit not just the Washington Heights neighborhood, but all over New York, so I hope you find it in your heart to give to them,” says Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, a longtime supporter of the school who previously narrated a fundraising clip for it in 2016.

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What It’s Like Wearing a Kippah in Europe

You may have already seen the video showing a man being physically attacked in Berlin for wearing a kippah. If you haven’t, watch it here.

It shows 21-year-old Adam Armush walking in a street of the German capital with his friend and being assaulted by three young men. One of the attackers repeatedly hit Armush with his belt, while shouting “yahudi,” which is Arabic for Jew. Armush himself filmed part of the scene on his smartphone.

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Live, From New York, It’s Javad Zarif

I have seen Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif speak in person three times. To his credit, I guess, he waxed agnostic on the historicity of the Holocaust on only one of those occasions, nearly 12 years ago. Perhaps his thinking on the topic has evolved since then, in which case it would be maybe the only sign of moral or intellectual growth Zarif has ever betrayed. His appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations Monday evening was almost indistinguishable from his discussion at the Asia Society back in September, which was itself reminiscent of his New America Foundation-sponsored talk at NYU in April of 2015.  (I was unfortunately waitlisted for Zarif’s talk at CFR and had to watch a webcast of the event, but what’s just as well—others should get the chance to bask in the foreign minister’s presence.)

Zarif is still a dissembler and a double-speaker, and he still spent seemingly a third of his talk stewing over the particularities of the Iran-Iraq War, a conflict that concluded 30 years ago. This time around, the biggest howlers included: “In Iran, the judiciary is independent from the executive,” “We are in Syria to prevent a takeover of Syria by the extremists,” and “our economic indicators are good.” Orwellian is an overused descriptor these days, but what other adjective to use here? “Only in the Middle Ages could you have wars with winners and losers. In the war of the 20th and 21st century there are no winners,” said Zarif, whose government has behaved in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq as if wars are very much winnable or losable. He let a detectable anti-Arab chauvinism slip through: “We need to have a strong region, not to be the strongest in the region,” Zarif claimed, drawing a supposed contrast between Iran and its Gulf neighbors. “We are big enough, old enough, mature enough to appreciate this reality.”

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How Jesse Pinkman’s Need for Acceptance Led Him Into a Dysfunctional Relationship With Walter White

As part of their ongoing series of deconstructing the rich symbolism within the sublime AMC series Breaking Bad, film and television analysis platform ScreenPrism took a look at the odd wide-eyed innocence of character Jesse Pinkman. Specifically, they look at Jesse’s tenderness when it came to kids and animals, his childlike silliness and his insatiable need for parental approval, which he eventually found in the very flawed Walter White. And in the way a child absorbs the bad behavior of adults, Jesse physically, mentally and spiritually suffered the sins of Walter White even when Walter felt he was doing nothing wrong.

He’s essentially an abandoned kid. His parents think he’s a hopeless screw-up and want nothing to do with him. Jessie needs someone to tell him what to do and so he finds a parental figure in Walt their dynamic immediately resembles a father-son relationship. ….Jesse starts out with a great deal of loyalty and respect for Walt but he ends completely disillusioned…

The post How Jesse Pinkman’s Need for Acceptance Led Him Into a Dysfunctional Relationship With Walter White appeared first on Laughing Squid.

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Rob Scallon Rocks Out an Original Heavy Metal Song on a Traditional Russian Balalaika

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Person of the Forest, Researchers Go to Borneo to Learn About the Human-Primate Connection

In the trailer for the upcoming documentary Person of the Forest by photojournalist Tim Laman and Melissa Lesh, a three-person team that includes Laman, travel to the ever shrinking rainforests of Borneo in order to learn about and document the human-primate connection by researching how the resident orangutans interact with each other and their environment.

In the vanishing lowland rainforests of Borneo, research is underway to uncover and understand the unique cultural behaviors in wild orangutans. There, photographer Tim Laman, researcher Cheryl Knott, and young explorer Robert Suro shed new light on the similarities between ourselves and our ancient ancestors, before it’s too late

via Vimeo Staff Picks

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A Wonderful Film Mashup That Visually Encourages People to Ditch Their Cars and Ride a Bike Instead

Filmmakers Oscar Boyson (previously) and Erin DeWitt have created a wonderful film compilation that visually encourages people to get out of their cars and go for a ride on bicycle instead.

This an unbranded PSA for bike advocates and enthusiasts, content designed for anyone and everyone to share, remix, or tailor for their own purposes to promote cycling and transportation choices in their communities.

The post A Wonderful Film Mashup That Visually Encourages People to Ditch Their Cars and Ride a Bike Instead appeared first on Laughing Squid.

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Artist Builds Beautifully Realistic Dioramas Based on His Childhood Memories

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

Malaysia artist Eddie Putera does a brilliant job of building beautifully realistic dioramas from his own childhood memories and fiction, as well as unique dioramas built specifically for his customers. His work is available to purchase from his website.

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

A post shared by Eddie Putera® (@eddieputera) on

via Neatorama

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