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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 24, 2014 By Rafael Medoff Actress Meryl Streep has reignited a debate that has simmered below the surface in Hollywood for decades: Was Walt Disney anti-Semitic? The occasion was the annual awards event of the National Board of Review, an organization of filmmakers, students, and movie scholars. Streep presented an award to Emma Thompson, for her role inthe new movie"Saving Mr. Banks," about the making of Mary Poppins. Thompson co-stars as Poppins author P.L. Travers, alongside Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Streep took the opportu- nity to blast Disney as racist and misogynist who also "supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group." She did not actually call Disney an anti-Semite, but many people took it that way. The Hollywood Reporter declared that Streep accused Disney of being "sexist, rac- ist and anti-Semitic." Film professor David Hajdu said Disney was "a deeply flawed human being. A misogynist? You bet. An anti-Semite? That, too." An unnamed "female Academy member" interviewed by the Reporter referred to him as "that old anti-Semite, himself, Mr. Disney." Hollywood historian Neal Gabler examined the antisemitism charge in his 2006 biography of Disney. "Of the Jews who worked [with Disney], it was hard to find any who thought Walt was an anti-Semite," Gabler reported. "Joe Grant, who had been an artist, the head of the model department, and the story man responsible for Dumbo ... declared emphati- cally that Walt was not an anti-Semite. 'Some of the most influential people at the studio were Jewish,' Grant recalled, thinking no doubt of himself, production man- ager Harry Tytle, and Kay Kamen [head of Disney's mer- chandising arm], who once quipped that Disney's New York office had more Jews than the Book of Leviticus. Maurice Rapf concurred that Walt was not anti- Semitic; he was just a 'very conservative guy.'" On the other hand, one former Disney animator, David Swift, has claimed he heard Walt make an anti- Semitic remark, and another ex-staffer, David Hilberman, has alleged that one employee was fired because he was Jewish. (However, according to Gabler, Disney himself was rarely involved in firing anyone except the top brass). In addition, the original ani- mated version of the "Three Little Pigs" portrayed the Big Bad Wolf as a stereotypically Jewish peddler, although af- ter complaints, the segment was altered. When it comes to ex- plicit proof that Disney was anti-Semitic, the critics' case weakens. "There is zero hard evidence that Disney ever wrote or said anything anti- Semitic in private or public," according to Douglas Brode, author of "Muiticulturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment." Brode told The Hollywood Reporter that Disney used more Jewish actors "than any other studio of Hollywood's golden age, including those run by Jewish movie moguls." Gabler also revealed that Disney "frequently" made unpublicized donations to a variety of Jewish charities, including a Jewish orphan- age, a Jewish old-age home, Yeshiva College (precursor to Yeshiva University), and the American League for a Free Palestine. The League, better known as the Bergson Group, publicly supported the armed revolt by Menachem Begin's Irgun Zvai Leumi against the British in Palestine. Disney was embracing not just Zi- onism, but its most militant wing. How, then, did the rumors of Disney's alleged anti-Semitism spread so far and wide? That's where Meryl Streep comes in. The "anti-Semitic industry lobbying group" with which Disney was associated was the Motion Picture Alli- ance for the Preservation of American Ideals. The group's statement of principles said nothing about Jews; its de- clared purpose was to prevent "Communist, Fascist, and other totalitarian-minded groups" from gaining a foot- hold in Hollywood. Among its members were politically conservative actors such as John Wayne, Clark Gable, and Ginger Rogers. But some of its other members were accused of being privately anti-Semitic, and in general it had a reputation as being reactionary. Gabler believes that "the most plausible explanation" for the rumors about Disney were a kind of guilt by as- sociation: "Walt, in joining forces with the MPA and its band of professional reaction- aries and red-baiters, also got tarred with their anti- Semitism. Walt Disney cer- tainly was aware of the MPA's purported anti-Semitism, but he chose to ignore it ... The price he paid was that he would always be lumped not only with anti-Communists but also with anti-Semites." The irony is that while Streep was condemning Walt Disney for associating with extremists, she herself was doing the very same thing. The actress to whom she gave that awardwhen she made her anti-Disney speech, her close friend Emma Thompson, is active in the anti-Israel boy- cott movement. Streep hailed Thompson as "splendid, beau- tiful, practically a saint.., a living, acting conscience" Yet this 'saint,' together with other British actors, publicly New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer Alan Fisher Walt Disney urged a boycott of Israel's Habimah theater troupe when it participated in a fes- tival in England. Habimah, of course, has nothing to do with Israeli government poli- cies or any political~ssues. Its only "crime" is that it's Israeli. By contrast, Thompson had no problem with the National Theater of China taking part in that festival, even though it really does rep- -resentthe Chinese regime--a regime guilty of the most heinous human rights viola- tions, aid to terrorists around the world, and support for the genocidal government of Sudan. But of course, hypocrisy is the hallmark of the 'saints' of the anti-Israel boycott crusade. Dr. Rafael Medoff is direc- tor of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Stud- ies, in Washington, D.C. The Wyman Institute worked with Disney Educational Produc- tions on its new DVD, "They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust." nuclear IS necessary 9 By Adam Kredo Washington Free Beacon A top Iranian lawmaker and cleric said that the country's uranium enrichment pro- gram could allow it to build a nuclear weapon "in two weeks" in order to "put down Israel," according to multiple reports in the Farsi language press. Iranian lawmaker and cleric Muhammad Nabavian said on Friday that Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb in "two weeks" if it gets "access to 270 kilograms of 20 percent [enriched uranium], 10 tons of 5 percent, and 20 thousand centrifuges," according to reports on Iran's Radio Farda and in Fararu. "We are not looking for a nuclear bomb, but having a nuclear bomb is necessary to put down Israel," Naba- vian said, according to an independent translation of his remarks provided to the Washington Free Beacon. Nabavian went on to claim that President Barack Obama had courted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the lead up to nuclear negotiations with the West last year. Nabavian said Rouhani revealed in a private meet- ing that the U.S. president reached out to his Iranian counterpart on at least five separate occasions prior to Rouhani's visit last year to New York City. Rouhani ultimately re- fused to meet with Obama at the time despite the private overtures. Iran's parliament last Sun- day reportedly approved and sent to Rouhani a bill de- manding that Tehran enrich uranium up to 60 percent, levels just shy of those needed to fuel a nuclear weapon. Russia's ties with Tehran have improved significantly since November's interim nuclear deal aimed at halting portions of Iran's uranium en- richmentprogram, according to Nabavian. "Considering tough sanc- tions on Iranian banks, since last summer the whole banks throughout the world slammed their doors on us and we were unable to transfer even one single penny," he. said. "Even if we could sell 2.7 million barrels [of oil] per day how we could transfer the money?" "Only recently, [Russian leader] Vladimir Putin sent the Russian central bank chief to Iran in order to alle- viate money transfers, China also recently released part of our blocked money, U.S. $10 billion." With reports circulating that the interim nuclear deal is set to finally be enacted on Jan. 20, Nabavian confirmed that negotiations are about "90 percent" complete. "Our negotiation with the U.S. has developed swiftly. We reached to 90 percent agree- ment," Nabavian said, citing recent conversations he had with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. Nabavian claimed that Araqchi overheard Secretary of State John Kerry mock- ing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a recent closed door meet- ing with his fellow nuclear negotiators. "At the end of the nego- tiation, [lead U.S. negotiator] Wendy Sherman contacted John Kerry asking him to join the meeting," Nabavian recalled. "Upon his arrival, Kerry mentioned that he has met Netanyahu in the morning and his ears were still whistling because of Netanyahu's shouts!" As the Iranian nuclear negotiations move closer to a critical tipping point, Tehran's hardline legislature is angling to give itself more control over the talks. A recently proposed "spe- cial supervisory group" will submit guidelines for the negotiators to follow, accord- ing to Iran's state-run Mehr News Agency. The group of"high-ranking officials" will "coordinate with the negotiating team on issues such as uranium enrichment and other relevant issues," a Merge From page 1A coverage of the Holocaust, the creation of the State of Israel, the Israeli-Arab conflict, the changing role of women, evolving religious practices and other developments in modern Jewish life. The JTA website attracts about 300,000 unique visitors per month; in addition, JTA reaches millions more through its syndication services to nearly 80 Jewish and Israeli newspapers and websites. Founded in 2002, MyJew- ishLearning, Inc. leverages the Internet and other new media to spread knowledge of Jewish religion, history, values, traditions, and culture in a manner that is meaning- ful and accessible to people of all backgrounds, empowering them to navigate Jewish life with confidence and creativ- ity. MJL properties reach more than 650,000 aggregate unique visitors a month. The organization currently pub- lishes two major websites,, the most robust and highly traf- ficked transdenominational Jewish educational website, and, a Jewish parentingwebsite andvibrant online community. MJL also publishes TheJewniverse. com, a spin-off of its popular daily email. Hassan Rouhani member of the Iranian parlia- ment's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission told Mehr. This entry was posted 4527 1839 9672 8943 2318 5761 3 156 6294 7485 AP in National Security and tagged Hassan Rouhani, Iran, Israel, nuclear weap- ons, Russia. Bookmark the permalink. 31 869 56247 84351 65712 47596 92438 28974 73185 19623