ISRAEL’S NBA HOPE: Boston’s Jewish Advocate profiles Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi, who, it suggests, could be the next Israeli star to play in the NBA and is thus, as the paper awkwardly puts it in its headline, “The great white Israelite.”
DEPT. OF FUNNY HEADLINES: Other headlines in this week’s Jewish Advocate include the stereotype-evoking “Sales tax holiday moved to accommodate Jews” (We certainly wouldn’t want to miss out) and the odd “Economy and intermarriage worry Zionist organizations” (I’ll bet they’re worried about that whole Mideast issue, too).
‘BAFFLING’ OBAMA: Obama adviser and former congressman Mel Levine tells the New York Jewish Week that his preferred presidential candidate is perplexed by concerns about him within the Jewish community. “I’ve heard him say that some of the things that have been raised about him in the Jewish community are baffling and ironic, in light of the depth of his relationship with the Jewish community in Illinois,” Levine explains.
GOODBYE CROCS, HELLO HOKI? The fashion mavens at the New York Jewish Week suggest that the next big thing in uber-casual footwear could be an Israeli import.
‘KOSHER GYM’ KERFUFFLE: Brooklyn’s Jewish Press reports on a brouhaha at the borough’s “Kosher Gym.”
DRUG DENIAL: Kansas City native and would-be Israeli Olympic swimmer Max Jaben tells the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle that he is fighting to go to Beijing, despite flunking a urine test for performance-enhancing drugs. “I have never taken a steroid. It’s absurd that this is going on,” he tells his hometown paper. “At first, I was devastated by it. Now I’m still devastated, but I am starting to become very angry about it. I know I didn’t do this.”
BATTLE IN SEATTLE: Pro-Israel activists are gearing up to fight a Seattle ballot initiative that would require the city’s retirement system to divest from corporations that assist in the U.S. military presence in Iraq, that “provide direct material support for activities of the Israeli government within the occupied and besieged territories of West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights” or that have “a presence… in Israeli settlements” in these areas. Seattle’s Jewish Transcript has the story.
PRESIDENT TYLER’S GRANDSON: Dan Pines of San Francisco’s J. newsweekly writes about a brush with history: Back in 2000, he met the grandson of America’s 10th president, John Tyler. He’s no relation to the Forward’s Gus Tyler, although our Tyler does allude to the long-gone president in the title of his occasional column.)
JESSE JACKSON’S FUNNY FOE: The Rev. Jesse Jackson should practice what he preaches. At least that’s what Jamie Masada thinks. Masada is the owner of Hollywood’s Laugh Factory, where back in 2006 Michael Richards famously launched into a racist rant, prominently featuring the “n-word.” Masada tells the L.A. Jewish Journal that, following the Richards incident, “Jesse told me I couldn’t use the n-word in my club” and even threatened to march on his clubs. Ever since, Masada has been doling out $50 fines to performers who use the “n-word” or other hateful language, the proceeds of which go to L.A.’s Museum of Tolerance. But now that Jackson has used the same word in his own infamous on-mic tirade against Barack Obama, Masada wants the veteran activist to pay up. “He’s a civil rights leader, and now he’s using the n-word himself,” Masada tells the Journal. “It’s a double standard. It’s hypocritical.” The Journal reports that the club owner has issued more than 1,000 fines so far, and that he also plans to bill comedian Whoopi Goldberg for her use of the “n-word” word on “The View.”
JEW GLUES P.M.: Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reports that a 24-year-old Jewish environmental activist recently glued himself to buttons being worn by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to protest against a new airport runway. “After 20 seconds, he tore my hand away — it really hurt,” the activist recalls.
LONDON JCC CAPUT?: Plans for an American-style Jewish community centre building for London have hit the skids, according to Britain’s Jewish Chronicle.