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December 5, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 5, 2014 Art From page 1A to deny the claim, including challenging the jurisdiction of a federal court in New York. The World Jewish Restitu- tion Organization has no involvement in the lawsuit and does not take positions in individual art cases. But we do advocate for museums to act ethically when pieces of art in their possession are alleged to have been looted during the Holocaust. Unlike the approach the museum in Switzerland has announced it will take, the response from the governing body of U.S. museums has been most disappointing. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the nation- ally recognized voice of the American museum commu- nity with almost 800 accred- ited museums, has declined to review the case. In response to requests for review, Ford W. Bell, the AAM chief, was quoted invarious news reports as saying that the body's ac- creditation commission would not review ethical compli- ance with AAM standards in cases "in which litigation is ongoing." Bell added, "The accreditation commission is not a legal body." But the AAM's own code of ethics stipulates clearly that the law should not be the determining factor in review- ing claims. "Acting ethically is different from acting law- fully," the code says. "Museums and those re- sponsible for them must do ': more than avoid legal liabil- ity," it says. "They must take affirmative steps to maintain their integrity so as to warrant public confidence. They must act not only legally but also ethically." Whether claimants exercise their legal rights in court is an entirely separate issue from whether the museum in question is acting, as the AAM puts it, "not only legally but also ethically." Museums are central to a civilized society. The Ameri- can museum community, while understandably an ad- vocate for artwork to remain in public hands, also has recognized thatAmerican art museum collections should not be tainted by art stolen during the Holocaust. Thus in 2001 the AAM adopted the current version of the Standards Regarding the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era, following discussions with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States, which was established by an act of Congress. These standards, and the code of ethics for mu- seums, are integral parts of AAM's body of ethics, standards and best prac- tices for museums. The stan- dards stipulate that museums take steps to research the provenance of items of art in their collections and how to address claims. It is difficult to follow the logic of an argument that would say that a determina- tion of whether the museum is indeed meeting the ethical standards can be made only if a lawsuit has not been filed. Either the standards are being met or they are not. Either the museum is acting ethically or it is not. The AAM cannot ignore its obligation to make that determination simply because a claimant is seeking to vindicate his or her legal rights. Nor is the issue of a review by the AAM of a museum sim- ply a theoretical one. Earlier this year, theAAM determined the Delaware Art Museum had violated the code of ethics by selling one of its paintings. The penalty imposed by the AAM in that case was not a light one: It removed the museum's accredited status. Would the AAM have ignored this breach had there been PAGE 15A ongoing litigation at the time? The American public ex- pects no less vigilant oversight of the museum community when it comes to claims relat- ing to objects confiscated dur- ing the Holocaust. Regardless of whether and how claimants pursue their own individual claims, self-regulation by the American museum commu- nity must not translate into a failure to do what is necessary to ensure that the museum community's own ethical standards are being met. Gideon Taylor is the chair- man of operations for the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which repre- sents world Jewry in pursuing claims for the recovery of Jew- ish properties seized during the Holocaust in all countries except Germany andAustria. Fund From page 1A Israel, some of whom are con- nected to the Boycott, Divest- ment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets Israeli academics and businesses. In an article she wrote for The Jewish Week Ives states these allegations are false. "Our entire strategy has been based on investing in Israel, not divesting from it. In fact, our investment of $30 million a year in Israel has actually made us the target of the BDS movement, though we enforce a clear policy against mak- ing grants to organizations that participate in the global BDS movement. Groups that allege that we support BDS are blatantly wrong and as a newcomer to NIF, I can only hope that these inaccuracies are a function of poor research rather than malicious slander." According to the Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor, "The New Israel Fund (NIF) is the largest and most powerful non-governmental source of support for Israeli civil society organizations, providing fund- ingand organizational/political assistance. In 2012 (the latest available information), NIF authorized $17.6 million in grants for Israeli NGOs (non- governmental organizations)." "Allegations by NIF-funded groups are frequently used to advance anti-Israel BDS (boy- cotts, divestment, and sanc- tions) activism - the claims of these groups are used to justify demonization," NGO Monitor says. "For instance, the UC Berkeley divestment campaign (April 2013) refer- enced B'Tselem, Adalah, and PHR-I as documenting'ongo- ing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government.' We also note that previous NIF funding for radical anti-Israel groups (ICAHD, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mada al- Carmel, AI-Qaws, etc.), which has ended, continued for years and caused significant dam- age, including, for example, the decision by Dutch pension funds to divest from Israeli banks in January 2014." Talks From page 2A President Obama was care- ful to garner before pushing broad sanctions through the United Nations in 2010. "If Iran wins the battle of perception, that would make it harder for the U.S. to win "sharOn From page 4A cause with the leftists also wanting to see Israel disap- pear," Daniel Pipes, founder and president of the Middle East Forum think tank, told Many leading U.S. Republi- can legislators, ahead of their party's forthcoming control of both houses of Congress in January, are taking Ne- tanyahu's side on the issue and have promised to block any "bad deal" with Iran that allows the country to retain enrichment capability. "Iran is a unique issue be- cause Democratic members of Congress tend to be closer to their Republican colleagues than to the administration," Pipes said. "The question ahead is whether there will be a veto-proof majority. One ranking House member told me [recently] that he thinks this is possible." The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) said Monday that Congress "should act concessions from Iran," Nader said. Ed Levine, a former top Senate foreign affairs staffer and now a member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation's advisory board, suggested that it was unlikely that Congress would pass new sanctions, if only because of its historical reluc- tance-even in an adversarial posture toward the White House--to pass legislation that "kills" diplomatic initia- tives as opposed to offering an alternative. "Most of the proposals [Congress has] made over the last year or so have died in subcommittee," Levine said at an event Tuesday organized by the Brookings Institution. "You want a piece of legislation that will help the negotiations rather than antagonizing our allies," although he said now to reimpose sanctions and re-establish U.S. red lines that will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability." "To that end, such legisla- tion must limit the president's authority to waive sanctions, an authority the presidenthas already signaled a willingness to abuse in his desperate quest for a deal with the mullahs," ECI said in a statement. The original interim deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers was signed in Novem- ber 2013 and led to an easing of some sanctions on Iran. The interim deal allowed for fur- ther negotiations to produce a final framework, but the deadline for that framework has been repeatedly pushed back, including last July. Iran wants to retain its abil- ity to enrich uranium, but re- fuses to cooperate with a probe by the International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), aU.N.- affiliated nuclear watchdog. Iran had agreed to provide the IAEA with information on experiments with nuclear detonators, work on high- explosive charges used in nuclear blasts, and studies on the calculation of nuclear explosive yields. But the IAEA said this month that Iran has only provided information on the detonators. Yet a push for greater Ira- nian cooperation with the P5+1 powers is coming from within the Islamic Republic itself. Some in Iran are calling for a change in the country's direction, following years of isolation and economic stagnation. "Overall the economic situation is quite bleak," Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi--a professor of planning and pub- lic policy at Rutgers University in New Jersey and a candidate in Iran's 2013 presidential race--told earlier this month. "Unemployment, infla- tion, and debt remain very high, economic growth re- mains around zero, and international trade remains extremely constrained due to the sanctions on banking, oil, and other sectors," he said. According to analysts, the difficult economic situation in Iran is largely attributed to the Western sanctions placed on the country and a recent de- cline in the price of oil--Iran's largest source of income. The tough economic climate has created added pressure on the Iranian government to deliver a nuclear deal that would relieve sanctions and end the country's international isolation. Within the Iranian govern- ment, there are two factions maneuvering to formulate a deal with the P5+1 powers. The more hardline faction is led by Khamenei, who has rejected proposed nuclear deals in the past, including in 2009. The so-called "moder- ate" faction is led by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who came to power in 2013 with a promise of improving Iran's foreign relations and reviving the economy, and that also was unlikely given the "maximalist" conditions some in Congress have em- braced. Dennis Ross, a former top Iran adviser to Obama, said the mere threat of additional sanctions may be useful as le- verage as the talks go forward. "The administration could go to the Congress and sug- gest, 'Give us a chance to negotiate this; imposing new sanctions would make it prob- lematic,' How about making it clear new sanctions will be forthcoming if there isn't an agreement?" would seemingly be a more flexible negotiating partner for the West. Many within the Iranian government, however, also view nuclear weapons as a necessary deterrent against instability in the Middle East. "Iran, like Israel, sits in a region surrounded by the Arabs and is a minority Shi'a religion," Amirahmadi said. "It has problems with the Kurds, the Turks, and of course the Arabs. It is a very isolated in many ways and security is always an issue. ... I think if Iran could be assured about its security, it would be persuaded to give up its nuclear weapons program [and] its missile development, and become a more friendly state," he said. Ultimately, all sides of the debate within Iran itself are united on promoting what they call "Iran's basic nuclear rights" such as maintaining uranium enrichment capac- ity on Iranian soil, which is one of the key sticking points between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic. "The Iranian leadership is absolutely committed to building nuclear weapons and will use any agreement to further that end," said Pipes. Amirahmadi also believes that Israeli fears regarding Iran's incitement against the Jewish state are also not nec- essarily exaggerated. While he said there is "no historical animosity between Iran and the Jewish people," he also argued that Islamic funda- mentalism has hijacked the Iranian-Israeli relationship. "If you go back to the very history early of Islam, you see that many Muslim leaders massacred Jews, such as the first Shi'a Imam Ali," he said. "Governments come and go, what remains is the people. I am concerned that the animosity between the two governments spreads into the minds of the two people," added Amirahmadi. Sean Savage contributed to this article. Filmmakers From page 8A who had fled Germany with his Jewish wife. Martin Ko- sleck, another anti-Nazi actor, played propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels five times, including in Hollywood's first anti-Nazi film, "Confessions of a Nazi Spy." The emigres' influence was more obvious in the cre- ation of film noir, the name subsequently given to the sinister tales of urban crime and corruption that became a hallmark of the 1940s and early '50s. (Serendipitously, one can explore these roots across town at the Los An- geles County Museum of Art's simultaneous exhibit, "Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s.") In the 1920s, German Ex- pressionist filmmakers such as Lang used visually dis- torted sets, unusual camera angles, and dramatic con- trasts of light and dark to convey the mental turmoil of their characters. This focus on psychological torment and the stark, angular play of light and shadow later became key elements of noir. But while the Expres- sionists made Berlin an international center for cinematic creativity, the rise of the Nazis in the early 1930s led many pioneering filmmakers to flee. Lang, despite his Jewish roots, was offered a top position in the German film industry by Goebbels but chose to flee instead. Others like Wilder, Lorre, Koster, composer Kurt Weill and many more followed suit. In the wake of their departure, other German filmmakers, such as Leni Riefenstahl, focused their talents on creating Nazi propaganda movies. Hollywood, of course, was already a Jewish town by the early '30s. Studio titans such as MGM's Louis B. Mayer, Paramount's Adolph Zukor and the Warner brothers were Jewish (a fact that they were famously reluctant to adver- tise for fear of anti-Semitic backlash). And as Hollywood grew, its riches and op- portunities lured European filmmakers as well. When the Nazis came to power, some of the established Hollywood players worked to bring over their fellow countrymen. Universars Carl Laemmle, in particular, devoted himself to helping hundreds of Jewish refugees secure immigration visas and work stateside. But many who came to Los Angeles remained outsiders. Jewish emigres would gather for salons at the homes of host- esses like Salka Viertel--the exhibit contains recordings of songs sung at one such gather- ing--and found solace there with others who shared their culture and knew firsthand what the Nazis were destroying. Yet even this temporary respite didn't last, as the American fight turned from fascism abroad to commu- nism at home. The exhibit ends in 1950--at a time when a number of the emigres were being singled out by the House Unamerican Activities Com- mittee for allegedly having communist ties. Some were blacklisted; a few, like film composer Hanss Eisler, were even deported. Others left on their own accord. For them, California's light of hope and possibility had gone out, and they were cast back into the darkness.