Saturday, February 05, 2005

Barbra, Where Art Thou?

I just read a 4-page article on Barbra Streisand in The Jerusalem Post, Dame Barbra. Now I'm a Babs fan from way back. One of the most moving things to me is a snippet from her cazillion disc-CD collection, "For the Record," in which she's talking with Golda Meir before Barbra sings "Hatikva" during a celebration for Israel's 30th. But other than the subsequent Yentl, I feel like Barbra has abandoned Israel. There's next to nothing on her web site, so I was hoping this article would have a nugget there to prove me wrong. I was hoping it would have some piece of info about Barbra sticking up for Israel that I didn't know. Nope. It was about her life, career and her new movie -- with a little Judaism thrown in. No Israel.

And in this old article I just read, I'm appalled to learn that Barbra gave to almost every democratic candidate for president -- including Al "Don't forget Crown Heights" Sharpton. The notable exception -- Joe Lieberman. Anyway, can't let that sidetrack me from my main point.

Israel needs champions. I'm thrilled with the likes of Adam Sandler who silently gives money, but I think it would be great for someone of stature in Hollywood's Jewish community to stand up and say -- Israel is awesome -- and I'm going to visit! If you know of something Barbra's done recently (oh hell, how about since Yentl), please say so in the comments.

How... ironic... that the most vocal voice on the subject is Madonna.

18 Comments:

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

"I feel like Barbra has abandoned Israel."

All of Hollywood has. When was the last movie to talk about Israel (period) and what they are going through. They are more worried about being politically correct and having the admiration of the left then.

"I'm appalled to learn that Barbra gave to almost every democratic candidate for president -- including Al "Don't forget Crown Heights" Sharpton"

I didn't know that. But, it figures. I am ashamed for her.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Esther said...

You're so right that all of Hollywood has. This is a time that Israel could really, really use their support/help with her image to the rest of the world. Most actors have never met a microphone they didn't like but suddenly... on this... Hollywood is conspicuously silent.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

Very true, I was thinking about it recently. Not about Barbra specificaly, but about the whole 'Jews control Hollywood' thing. If they do, where are their voices?

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger American On Line said...

The issue of Hollywood and Israel sounds much like an old peeve that Dennis Prager has with Hollywood, among 100 others, that he has with his old nemesis, the 'liberals.'

I remember him jumping on a false story that was circulated in 2002 that director Steven Spielberg would be documenting the uprising in the West Bank from a pro-Palestinian point of view. Before it was proven clearly false, the old 'Hollywood-hates-Jews' canard was all over the wires. Same thing with his trip to Cuba that year.

The fact that Spielberg donated a million dollars from his Holocaust Foundation to five organizations which help Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks, is not addressed by Pragar, nor is the multimillions spent on the The Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation that was started in 1994 by Steven Spielberg; the Foundation's goal of having an on-line accessible computer archive of Holocaust survivors' accounts will be completed by late 1997. The Foundation worked in at least sixteen regions around the world, which include Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Miami, Chicago, Israel, Sydney, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, South Africa, Buenos Aires, and some cities in Eastern Europe.

He's an example of the many examples that I know of, but seemingly do not find their way into the dialogue.

Watching Jews like Prager attack other Jews is nicely productive of fomenting anti-Semitism.

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

Babs, and pretty much all of the beautiful people out there in La-La Land have not only abandoned Israel, but also America! heh

But hey, there's still Jackie Mason!

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Esther said...

RW, if Jews controlled Hollywood, why the hell am I still unemployed? :) Seriously, I always laugh when I hear that. But what I don't like about it is if that statement is said at dinner parties, whatever, people seem to just accept it but they shouldn't. If someone said, "Well, Latinos control XXX or Blacks control YYY," they'd be yelled at as racist. Why is it okay to say something like that about the Jews?

Patrick.... Ah, Jackie..... :)

Marty, I can't speak to Dennis Prager's angst but I can do my own. My tirade is more at Barbra; when Israel was well thought of, she was fine jumping on that boat. But now (well, the last several years) that Israel is having some major PR issues, she doesn't mention it whatsoever. The only one I really see saying anything is Larry Miller. He's wonderful! And yes, while I appreciate those like Spielberg who give their money, their lending their voice could do far more. But since you brought up Spielberg, I will address him.

"The fact that Spielberg donated a million dollars from his Holocaust Foundation to five organizations which help Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks"

I never heard a thing about his doing this. Why is that? Also, he's not risking his reputation much for sticking up for Holocaust victims. I mean, unless you're arguing with Abu Mazen or Hanan Ashwari, most people agree that it was a horrible thing.

"The Foundation worked in at least sixteen regions around the world, which include Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Miami, Chicago, Israel, Sydney, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, South Africa, Buenos Aires, and some cities in Eastern Europe."

Meanwhile, when I approached them about my friend whom they never interviewed, they were like, "Oh. We're done our interviews." You're what?!?! So they're now turning down people?!!? Personally, I think that sucks rocks.

"He's an example of the many examples that I know of, but seemingly do not find their way into the dialogue."

Why do you think that is? I'm curious. I mean, he's Steven freakin' Spielberg. My guess is if he called up anyone, Oprah, Bill O'Reilly, Peter Jennings...they'd put his mug on the air.

"Watching Jews like Prager attack other Jews is nicely productive of fomenting anti-Semitism."

Do you think my taking Barbra to task was doing that? I don't know that that's a fair statement.

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger American On Line said...

One more time:

"The fact that Spielberg donated a million dollars from his Holocaust Foundation to five organizations which help Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks"

 
At 5:43 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Yeah, when I re-read it I realized that I didn't express what I was thinking clearly. LOL. Sorry Marty. I meant I didn't hear about his giving to the Israeli victims of terror. Then I went back to a thought I was having about how when he gives to Holocaust charities, that's not taking a huge risk reputation wise. Sometimes my brain moves faster than my fingers type. Sorry!

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger American On Line said...

No Esther, you were not attacking Jews or Barb, you were asking a question and you do not have his public; Prager does.

All of us want to see Jews defend Jews as we see it. Yet, there are millions of Jews that do not see it as we see it, many of them Israelis. But I beleive that attacking Jews as Jews for not agreeing with me, is the anti-Semite's dream.

People need to learn how to argue without attacking the person.

 
At 5:48 PM, Blogger Esther said...

THAT I am in complete agreement with you.

Sure, rub it in that I don't have Dennis Prager's audience. Heehee. I probably don't have his dog's audience. But I believe what my audience lacks in size it makes up in quality...present company very much included.

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger bbs said...

okay black girl will have her say on this subject. not specifically barbara (who yes i love mightily), but the issue of groups in the minority (please note i did not refer to them as minorities) looking toward those in their group who is more well-known to save them. on one hand when something occurs that needs black voices to speak up and out, i am sorely disappointed when michael teflon jordan and similar others say nothing because the reality is, being in the public eye, they get heard and reported and the issue is hopefully successfully discussed. on the other hand just because they're black makes them responsible for the whole race? isn't that an unfair burden? and doesn't it victimize myself because in reality i'm saying, 'i can't make it without you? save me oh great black hope? excuse me, i gotta go have a bowel movement.

i also try to remember i may never know the whole story. this week max schmeling, the heavyweight boxer who fought, beat, and lost to black boxer joe louis, died. in the 48 years of my life, 42 of them being conscious of the world, i cannot recall one conversation among blacks or one article written in a black publication that did not portray schmeling in a nazi racist 'we beat that white boy' light. there was nothing good to be said for him who we associated with the hitler who despised the athletic prowess of olympian jesse owens. this week i learned schmeling paid for joe louis' funeral. he gave louis money over the years as he fell on hard times. they were good friends. he basically told hitler to kiss his ass. i wonder how much else i don't know because the person who acts prefers to keep it quiet. and before someone says the voice needs to be heard out loud where we all can hear it, sometimes yes, sometimes no. so many things are resolved in quiet, behind the door.

finally, as i wrote this i came to realize that at this point in life, meaning i definitely was not like this in my younger days, i am probably closer to not giving a damn if celebrities or well-known black folks or others represent my cause. try being black and having mainstream media annoint some 'i could say lord knows why we got to have it cause no one else does but it's part of the systemic racism toward blacks in this country' black leader who answers for all of us. whose answers too often are compromised by corporate dollars and what's in it for them. can we say jesse jackson here? the boy has done some great things but the last several years, damn. i neither need nor desire their voice, i have my own. so if y'all looking for some mouths i've got quite a few over here. i am more than happy to lend you all of them, so the rest of us po' black folk, without all that dead weight, can move on.

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger Esther said...

renee, as always, you slay me. You made some awesome points, and they are duly noted. I guess my main issue with Babs (yes, I'm gonna speak about her again -- brace yourself), is she used to speak about Israel all the time when it was cool to -- or at least when it wasn't such a hot button. Now that they're in trouble, she's silent. That's why it pisses me off. I mean, she has a whole site that she speaks about all her issues. Let's be honest -- there's very little that woman WON'T speak about when no one wants to hear it. Sooooooooo............why not Israel?

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger bbs said...

okay esther you and i are not going to have a running dialogue on this. :) but let me throw out one other thought. dennis haysbert played the president on Fox's 24 the last 3 years. morgan freeman has played the president, the president's secret service guy, god, and lord knows what else. james earl jones, even with a white wife, is the voice of cnn. oprah is on twice a day in chicago and is more well known that almost anyone on the face of the earth. every time some nonblack person sees these guys and other blacks, whether they realize it or not, something is put in their subconscious mind that is a positive thing about black folks. whether these people ever speak out on a black issue, they are black, and it makes a positive statement. maybe it's unfair to do the grouping thing, but i can never think of streisand without realizing she's jewish. i loved yentil. and whether she speaks out on it now or not her mere presence makes a statement. steven spielberg's presence makes a statement. lew wasserman made a statement, until he died. it doesn't absolve them of total responsibility, but face it, they cannot disguse who they are. it makes a statement. and in barbara's case, it's a powerful statement.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Aw, we can't have a running dialogue on this? I see what you're saying and I guess I should be thankful for that. But I can't seem to shake that this is different.

This is a country in trouble.

Now I know Barbra wouldn't make an impact on people in other countries but she could make a difference here. She could go on Oprah and try to explain that Israel's fence isn't an apartheid thing (I can't tell you how much it upsets me that I have two friends who feel like it is); she could explain what masters of manipulation the PLO has been for decades. She could show video of things her foundation has funded in Israel (I'm guessing they must have done something -- I'm pretty sure they have). She could help show the humanity. She could show the suffering of families who've had their lives shattered by suicide bombers. I'm not saying she'd change the minds of people who hate Israel but she could go a long way to informing those who might be undecided and just don't have the right info.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

Renee brings a valid point. Why do we expect the powerful to speak for us? Well, think of the good ol' Jewish mother guilt: "To your boss you give a present, but to your poor mother who raised you, you give gornischt (nothing)?"
So Barbra, to the liberals you give a speech, and to your good ol' Israel you give gornischt?

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Well said, RW. Well said.

It's true Streisand doesn't have to do anything. I just wonder why she has an opinion on everything and will talk about all of it (especially how the flowers on her balcony have to match the interior design of the room--egads) but can't muster up anything about Israel. My fear, of course, is that she's fallen into the far left pit and would only have bad things to say so she's choosing to remain silent. If that's the case, then yes, stay quiet. And maybe read something other than Salon and The Nation.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Tom Carter said...

Esther, I always get something good from your site, but maybe the best thing so far has been today's exposure to Renee!

Bravo, Renee! You're cool in the extreme.

You know, if you step back and look at all these Hollywood types, liberal and conservative, what you see is a bunch of seriously under-educated, pampered elites who through their fame have hugely disproportionate voices in the national debate. Think of those schools of little fishies that flow back and forth across the screen on National Geographic, and you've got a good analogy. If they perceive the fashionable trend of the day is to love Arabs and hate Jews (for the majority liberal types), then they all go swimming off in the same direction with no concern at all about where they're going and no discernable leader.

 
At 8:20 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Aw, thanks Tom.

Yeah, Renee's pretty cool. I have a link to her site, BlackBerrySpeak, in my links section. You can check her out there. :)

 

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