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June 15, 2018
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 15, 2018 PAGE 3A Anthony Bourdain By news agencies and Times of Israel staff NEW YORK--Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has taken his own life, accord- ing to the television network CNN for which Bourdain took viewers around the world for the "Parts Unknown" series. He was 61. CNN said Bourdain was in Strasbourg filming an upcom- ing segment in the series. It said that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert. It called his death a suicide. "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and col- league, Anthony Bourdain," the network said in a state- ment early Friday about the longtime food critic, who revealed his Jewish heritage during a 2013 visit to Israel. "His love of great adven- ture, new friends, fine food and drink, and the remark- able stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time." Chefs, fans and US President Donald Trump were among those stunned and saddened by the news. "I want to extend to his family my heartfelt con- dolences," Trump said. Bourdain's death drew new attention to celebrity suicides. It came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade died of apparent suicide in her ParkAvenue apartment in New York. Spade's husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. On the network, anchors struggled to hold back tears as they recalled their late colleague in heartfelt recol- lections and urged people faced with despair, or who know people who are strug- gling with depression, to call a suicide hotline. Bourdain was Jewish. His mother Gladys (n~e Sacks- man) was an editor at The New York Times. His father was Catholic, and Bourdain said he did not have a religious upbringing. In a 2013 episode of his show, Bourdain took viewers to Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank. Anthony Bourdain at the Western Wall. Focusing on what he called "the most contentious piece of real estate in the world," Bourdain used the episode to reveal his own Jewish heritage: "I've never been in a synagogue. I don't believe in a higher power," he told viewers. "But that doesn't make me any less Jewish, I don't think." During the show, Bourdain puts on tefillin by the Western Wall, takes a walking tour of the Old City with famed international chef Yotam Ot- tolenghi, eats a meal with an American-born settler, chats with members of the first all-Palestinian race car team in Ramallah, and eats fire- roasted watermelon and other Palestinian foods in Gaza. Bourdain notes at the epi- sode's onset that he "doesn't know what to think" of Is- rael. "It is incredibly beautiful here," Bourdain observes at one point. "I don't know why I didn't expect that." Although Bourdain had never been to Israel prior to making that episode, he was no stranger to the Middle East, or to politically rocky terrain. When he went to Lebanon in July 2006 to film an episode of his previous show, the Travel Channel's "No Reservations," he found himself in the middle of a regional conflict--the Second Lebanon War--as the Jewish state retaliated against a Hezbollah attack in northern Israel. Bourdain watched from his hotel balcony as Israel destroyed the Beirut air- port--in part to prevent the delivery of arms--which left him stranded in a war zone. Spencer P!att/Getty Images Wounded protesters outside Gaza's main hospital, in Gaza City, May 14, 2018. By World Israel News US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Monday that the media should either figure out a better way to deal with the border protests or stop its negative coverage of the Jewish state. Addressing a media confer- ence in Jerusalem, Friedman said that news outlets have been unfair in their coverage of the deadly protests on the Gaza border over the past few months. He advised reporters to "keep your mouths shut" unless they know better than Israel how to deal with the demonstrations. Some criticism of Israel may be legitimate, Friedman allowed, although journalists should have worked harder to find alternatives to Israel's use of lethal force, which has left scores of Palestinians dead, before accusing the state of wrongdoing. "Nine out of ten articles" written about the Gaza con- flict are critical of Israel, Friedman pointed out. "You'd think that some journalists would take the time and go and meet with experts and try to understand what could have been done dif- ferently or better before they criticize. And I just haven't seen it," he stressed. Friedman said he spent a great deal of time speaking to military experts in the US, Israel and other coun- tries about the proper rules of engagement--which, he added, reporters should have done--and found that the accusations against Israel were, for the most part, un- founded. Friedman hinted that that his criticism was mainly geared towards The New York Times. Slanted accounts, he said, "fit a narrative. They fit an opinion. They fit an agenda. But it's not reporting, because it's not based on hard, factual analysis." By Sam Sokol JERUSALEM (JTA) Of the more than 60 deaths that occurred during the recent clashes between Israel and Palestinians at the Gaza bor- der, none was as divisive as that of Layla Ghandour. Ghandour, an 8-month-old girl, died after an uncle, him- self only 12, brought her to the edge of the protest zone, where she was reported to have inhaled Israeli tear gas. Pal- estinians immediately raised Ghandour as a symbol of Is- raeli oppression, elevating the infant to the status of martyr and blaming the Israeli army for her death. Many Israelis, meanwhile, countered in angry social media posts that it was irresponsible to allow a child into what essentially was a war zone. Both Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces issued statements, even as reports filtered out that the child had suffered from a preexisting heart ailment that may have contributed to her untimely death. Prominent newspapers such as the Los Angeles and New York Times ran long fea- tures on Ghandour, probing the circumstances surround- ing her death, describing how she had become a symbol and laying out the arguments of both sides. Others, especially tabloid papers such as Great Britain's Daily Express and The Sun, didn't hesitate to take sides, publishing head- lines such as "Drones drop lethal canisters" and describ- ing Israeli tear gas agents as "toxic gas." Ghandour became a pawn in a by-now-familiar game played whenever Israel and the Palestinians clash. Fla- reups follow a pattern in which initial impressions, and condemnations, are replaced by a more nuanced understanding of events as more information becomes available. Next come bitter partisan battles over what actually happened. Finally, among pundits, media critics, spokespeople and social media users, the discussion shifts from what happened to the credibility of the press itself. "I wouldn't say that the dispute over facts disappears from the conversation after a while," said Christian Baden, senior lecturer at Hebrew Uni- versity's Department of Com- munication and Journalism, "but it becomes subordinate because the main story then is about how do we need to interpret and how do we need to react to events." Baden added: "It shouldn't really be that difficult to deter- mine what is happening and it shouldn't be that difficult to determine what is objectively the news, but it turns out that it is actually quite complex." This month's clashes were a case study in split-screen jour- nalism--literally. On May 14, cable news channels around the world juxtaposed foot- age of happy, smiling Israelis celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem with images of Palestinians running away from Israeli gunfire through the clouds of smoke. According to Baden, such events follow a general pat- tern in which one or two days of confusion are followed by three to five days of inter- pretation, after which the "meta-debate kicks in" and "the question of what really happens on the ground be- comes secondary because we are no longer debating facts, we are debating stories." After every development here, pro-lsrael media watch- dog organizations are usually among the first to wade into the debate. This wave of media criticism usually comes in response to the "knee jerk reaction" of "hold[ing] Israel responsible for whatever hap- pens," said Simon Plosker, managing editor of Hones- tReporting, whose stated mission is "defending Israel from media bias." Plosker blames what he sees as skewed coverage on a mix of bias, parachute journalism by inexperienced or under informed reporters and edi- tors abroad who approach the conflict with "a certain level of preconceived framing" al- ready in mind. Plosker said the narrative presenting the Gaza protesters as peaceful "was skewed from the very start." Experts on media ethics, however, have a slightly dif- ferent take. Alan Abbey, a formerjournalist and adjunct professor of journalism at National University of San Diego, said real-time coverage of conflicts, even by the best reporters, is "incomplete at best, simply because details are continuing to emerge, outcomes are unclear, sources have agendas and a complete picture of a complicated situ- ation is impossible to obtain. The coverage of the violence at the Gaza border was no different." Abbey, who lives in Jerusa- lem, said mediawatchdogs, on the left and right, are usually quick to "assign blame, gen- eralize and ascribe baked-in, Bias on page 15A