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July 17, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 17, 2009 'Bruno' raises stakes on Jewish humor Sacha Baron Cohen as Briino, who wants to be the "biggest Austn'an superstar since Hitler." By Naomi Pfefferman Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles Universal Pictures' highly anticipated mock documen- tary, "Briino," has a story line that is as hilarious as it is controversial. But whether Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comic opus is perceived to be provocative or offensive, homophobic or passionately pro-tolerance, this saga of a gay fashionistawho aspires to become the "biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler" has some of the most sidesplit- ting Jewish moments of any movie of the year. Here are some favorites: 1. When Briino fails to comforts himself with the knowledge that "luckily, there is still one sh__hole left to fix in theworld: The Middle East" (or "Middle Earth," as he calls it). But he doesn't make many friends while traipsing in a black hat, payot and a Speedo through a religious area in Is- rael, where enraged residents chase him out of the 'hood. 2. Briino conducts dia- logues between Israeli and Arab leaders, including an ex-Mossad chief and a former Palestinian minister. Alas, he confuses the word"hummus" with "Hamas." 3. Brtino decides the best way to become famous is to be kidnapped by Muslim extremists, and so he visits a achieve uber-fame by solving leader of the AI-Aqsa Martyrs' the problems ifi Dafffl he i :Brigade in a refugee camp in Lebanon. "I want the best guys in the business. A1 Qaeda is so 2001," he tells the man. "Your king Osama looks like a dirty wizard or a homeless Santa Claus," he adds. Needless to say, Briino gets kicked out rather than kidnapped. 4. Briino and his manager, desperate to land celebrity in- terviews, consult a chart they have made of top actors. There is Wilhelm Schmidt (Will Smith), Adolf Pittler (Brad Pitt) and lastly, a man Briino calls "Der Fuhrer." The camera pans to reveal the photograph of said star: Mel Gibson. 5. After Congressman Ron Paul pronounces Briino a ,'queer," the fashionista la- ments, "I couldn't even shtup RuPaul [sic]. How am I going to get famous? Israel and U.S. groups push forward on Iran By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)--The aftermath of Iran's election presents the United States, Israel and pro-Israel advocates here with a dilemma worthy of a medical melodrama: Advocates for radical surgery, notwithstanding the dangers it poses, have the upper hand and the scalpel is ready--and then the patient shows signs of healing naturally. Israel, the Obama adminis- tration and the organized U.S. Jewish community for a few weeks put on hold their plans to ratchet up confrontation with Iran over its putative nuclear weapons program to see how clashes between the government and protesters who say the June 12 election was stolen would play out. That answer is not clear, but apparently based on re- ports that Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon, the confrontationists are back by the operating table, raising the scalpel and saying its time to dig in. That was the thinking behind a decision July 6 by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to plan major rallies in September to press for sanctions. The push will be coordinated to assist ef- forts by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to nudge toughened sanctions legislation through the U.S. Congress in September. The clearest sign of the renewed assertiveness was a series of statements by senior U.S. officials cul- minating in a speech July 7 by Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The United States still prefers diplomacy, he said, "but with Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli military chief of staff, and was impressed with Israeli concerns that a nuclear Iran posed an exis- tential threat to Israel. Mullen's dire warnings did not come out of the blue: He is making an unusual number of public appearances this week, speaking on the Iran issue, and Vice President Joe Biden toldABC's "This Week" on July 5 that any Israeli deci- tant to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East," he said. The clearest articulation of "why now" for tougher action against Iran was made by Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Presidents Conference, addressing its constituents in a conference call Monday afternoon, July 6. Taxes and laws are ever-changing. Is your financial advisor up-to-date? Is your money earning up to its potential? We are a group of financial professionals with years of extensive experience in wealth preservation, product independent advice, financial and risk management, income producing strategies, retirement planning, and tax management* Call 407-875-2674 for your complimentary initial assessment. 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U.S. Department of Defense Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, shown awarding a Silver Star to a soldier in the Afghanistan theater last year, said military options were not off the table in dealing with Iran's nuclear threat. with all options on the table, including, certainly, military options." Explicitly invoking "mili- tary options" is rare, especial- ly by the nation's top soldier, although Mullen insisted he had done so in the past after reporters at the Center for Strategic and International Studies event pressed him on the matter. Moreover, Mullen sug- gested that for the first time Israel and the United States were closer than ever on when exactly Iran's nuclear pro- gram becomes intolerable. "The time window is clos- ing," he said. "The clock is ticking." That sounded a lot closer to the recent Israeli predictions of imminent crisis, as op- posed to previous American talk of a window of about five years. Mullen noted that he con- sulted closely on the matter sion to strike Iran would be Israel's alone. "Israel can determine for itself--it's a sovereign na- tion-what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," Biden said. A number of media reports in recent days suggest an intensification of efforts to coordinate the U.S.-Israel approach to Iran--and how they at times falter. Ha'aretz reported that Israel is seeking specifics on what President Barack Obama plans to do if his outreach fails, and the Washington Times wrote that Israel is withholding a formal request to the United States to attack Iran in case it is denied. Meanwhile, Obama told CNN in Moscow on July 7 that the United States had not greenlighted an Israeli strike. "We have said directly to the Israelis that it is impor- Hoenlein, who called in from Israel, said he was hearing from Israeli leaders that existing sanctions were having an effect and that now was not the time to reduce the pressure. "We are not getting into the issue of regime change, but we are focused on the nuclear issue," he said dur- ing the call. "We held off for a little while to see what the out- come" of the elections would be, Hoenlein said, but pressed ahead because of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahma- dinejad's plans to attend the U.N. General Assembly and because of Iran's continued efforts to achieve a nuclear weapon. The plans are for a massive Washington Day on Sept. 10 that would include meetings at the White House and in Push on page 22A