The New York Post’s Page Six reports:
Susan Sarandon outraged the Jewish Voice for Peace group when she crossed its picket line to attend a cocktail party last month in the new Madison Avenue jewelry store of Lev Leviev, a diamond-dealing real-estate mogul who owns the former New York Times building and the Apthorp building on the Upper West Side.
Now the California-based grass-roots organization has sent the star a letter asking her to “publicly sever ties” with the jeweler, whom the group is boycotting because he supports Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But Sarandon’s rep denies she’s allied with the high-end gem dealer.
The picketers, who were there for the Leviev store launch in mid-November, stood on the sidewalk with Palestinian flags, shouting, “You’re glitz, you’re glam, you’re building on Palestinian land,” and, “Occupation is a drag, just say no to your gift bag.” A source told Page Six that Sarandon marched in and “tried not to notice the yells outside.”
Page Six got a reply from Sarandon’s rep:
…Sarandon’s representative questioned whether the actress attending one Leviev event amounted to “ties,” and added, “She has no ties to any jewelry company.”
I can understand JVP’s doggedness on the Sarandon front. When you’re a far-left group, and you’ve lost Susan Sarandon, you know you’re in trouble.
But Sarandon isn’t the only celeb who’s tangled up with this issue. Ubiquitous pro-Israel pugilist Alan Dershowitz suddenly appeared on the scene of another protest outside the Leviev store, strode inside and emerged with a shopping bag with which he proceeded to taunt the demonstrators. The scene was captured on video:
The snarky Hollywood gossip blog Defamer has an amusing take on the Sarandon brouhaha. Citing the Page Six piece, Defamer offered up the following analysis:
You read right: the Jews opposing “settlements” weren’t lawyers, they were pro-Palestinian protesters. These “Jews,” whose payos were suspiciously affixed with duct tape, chanted “Sorry ‘bout those charging tanks! Sorry that we run all banks!” and “What do want? Pogroms! When do we want them? Now!” at the Bull Durham star in an effort to bring peace to the Hamas-led region.
In addition to the issue of Israeli settlements (which are the central complaint of the protesters), the anti-Leviev camp has raised a number of other issues about the company’s ethics, which are noted in the Post article.
Last month, far-left icon Noam Chomsky spoke about Iraq to students at Newton South High School. He came at the invitation of the Massachusetts high school’s Social Awareness Club. The choice of speaker sparked no small measure of outrage (which isn’t surprising, given that it sometimes seems as if the famed MIT linguist never met a problem he couldn’t blame on American foreign-policy). The invitation to Chomsky — no great friend of Israel — particularly irked members of Newton’s large Jewish community. In response, the school’s Jewish Student Union is calling in the heavy artillery: Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who will speak at Newton South on June 5.
I don’t have much to add, except that this presents a convenient opportunity to recount a highlight from a 2005 debate at Harvard between Dershowitz and Chomsky. In the course of arguing that many countries have better human rights records than Israel when responding to terrorism, Chomsky declared:
Israel and the United States are both threatening Iran with destruction. Preemption, according to Dershowitz, would require that Iran be carrying out targeted assassinations in Israel and the United States.
What makes Chomsky’s statement that much more unhinged is that it came only a month after Iran’s president called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Talk about turning the world on its head…
You can watch the full video of the debate here. The bit mentioned above comes one hour and 20 minutes into the video.
UPDATE: Bintel Blog reader James Holstun disputes my characterization of Ahmadinejad as having called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Read my response here.