Jews in the News: Scarlett Johansson, Zack Weiss and Roseanne Barr

Clarifying, Correcting, and Adding

In my last column, I said that SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 33, was going to play a non-Jewish German who hides a Jewish girl and then her young son, a Hitler Youth member, discovers this.  I added that the film was written by, and is being directed by TAIKI WAITITI, 42, a New Zealander whose father is Polynesian and whose mother is Jewish. Waititi, I said, is now on a hot streak, having directed several hit New Zealand films and “Thor Raganorok,” a Hollywood movie blockbuster. New details just released reveal that the film, entitled “Jo Jo Rabbit,” has some very weird plot twists. But I’ll reserve judgment on it because Waititi “made weird work” in a couple of his New Zealand films.  Here are the new details: The son, a 10-year-old, invents an imaginary friend, who is played by Waititi himself. The imaginary friend is a combination of Hitler (!) and his missing father. The boy’s sense of Hitler is informed by Nazi propaganda. This fantasy Hitler is gentle and semi-comic. The official film synopsis says: “Waititi blends his signature humor, pathos, and deeply compelling characters in a WWII satire about a… boy who, ridiculed by his friends, and misunderstood by his mother, can’t quite figure out how to fit in. As the naïve young [boy] struggles to understand his place in fascist Germany, he resorts to an imaginary friend…”. (I’m guessing that the film’s dramatic climax will come when events force the boy to see that his nice fantasy friend is a monster in real life).

In my last column, I mis-spelled the first name of a rookie Cincinnati relief pitcher: it’s ZACK WEISS, not Zach. By the way, I found his Twitter feed and, last fall, he wished everybody a “Shana Tovah” near the High Holidays. Also: On Mar. 31, St. Louis called-up relief pitcher RYAN SHERRIFF, 27, from the minors to replace an injured pitcher. As I write this, he’s still with the Cardinals, but he’s likely to shuttle between the minors and the “big club”. Sherriff’s maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. He pitched for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

On Roseanne Barr

Long before Donald Trump entered politics, I was appalled by ROSEANNE BARR (currently a vocal Trump supporter). Yes, there are people who radically switch political positions for reasons that they lay out in understandable, rational terms. But Barr, 65, takes political stances and changes them for reasons that I can only ascribe to a personality disorder. This is laid-out in a must read “Daily Beast” article (“How Roseanne Barr Abandoned All-Reason and Embraced the Alt-Right”) published on June 23, 2017. The only thing the "Daily Beast” article doesn’t quite capture is how disordered Barr’s thinking is in a full interview. I saw one interview taped in the summer of 2016 with a conservative host. Try as he might, the host couldn’t extract a coherent summary of her views or why they changed. She spouted “word salad.”

The Daily Beast article traces her Israel views. Back in 2009, I wrote a blog-post about her virulent anti-Israeli views and then I had to watch as the Jewish community media lauded her in recent years for her pro-Israel stance. My guess is that they didn’t know about Barr’s quite recent past. Courtesy of the Daily Beast, that past is revealed: In 2009, she called Israel a “Nazi state,” in 2011 “a “brutal and undemocratic theocracy.” She also denounced “the ethnic cleansing that is happening in Gaza right now.” In 2012, she ran for President on a left-wing third party ticket with Cindy Sheehan (who stated numerous times that her soldier son died in Iraq for Israel).  But by 2015/16, Barr swung the other way, using language that wins no friends for Israel, like calling Muslims pedophiles; and tweeting, “Hillary Clinton is surrounded by Jew haters who make fun of the Holocaust and Jewish suffering.” She also shared a link that said that “Jew hater Hillary Clinton’s ‘handler’ Huma [Abedin] Weiner [a Muslim] is a filthy Nazi whore.” Most alarming is her support of wacko conspiracy theory sites. Barr particularly likes to re-tweet a sicko conspiracy theory about the “deep State” and Democrats running child sex rings—a charge very much like the totally false “Pizzagate story” (i.e., Hillary Clinton running a sex ring out of Washington pizza parlor).  I say to the Jewish media/community—don’t trust this woman. She could explode in your face. Who knows? A few years from now she may support Hamas.


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