Today in things in poor taste: A Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman showing one Bibi Netanyahu, flying an Israel plane into an American building. Subtle.
I guess people who lost a loved one on 9/11 will just have to get past that boring old thing called grief in the interest of depicting political tension.
Dressing up for Halloween is always an ordeal. Dressing up when Halloween also falls on Shabbat? Wow.
So this year, in honor of “Shabbatoween,” we’ve come up with some easy tricks to add a topical Jewish twist to your costume. Major treats guaranteed.
For ultimate ’70s swag, pair a leisure suit with a colorful shirt. Bring on the bling, perfect the comb-over and voila! (ABSCAM optional)
Forget Jennifer Lawrence. For the female counterpart to Irv’s psychadelic charm, try a long hair, don’t care Gloria Steinem attitude. Throw on some oversized sunglasses and you’re good to go.
Looks like Professor Sprout has stepped out of the Hogwarts greenhouse — right into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Miriam Margolyes, who played the matron of the Hogwarts greenhouses and Head of Hufflepuff house in the “Harry Potter” franchise, spoke out about the recent war in Gaza to Radio Times, a British television and radio magazine.
According to Haaretz, the actress, who was raised Jewish and grew up in a Jewish household in Britain, said, “I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel’s behavior is not acceptable.”
Margolyes observed that, “there’s been a troubling backlash” against Jews as a result of Operation Protective Edge.
In Belgium and France, rioters shouted “Death to Jews!” In Germany it was, “Gas the Jews!”
Britain itself saw a fivefold increase in calls to the country’s anti-Semitic hotline. July alone saw 240 calls, up from the previous average of roughly 50 a month in the first half of 2014.
“Anti-Semitism is horrible,” Margolyes said, “and can’t be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it,” she said.
“I don’t think many people like Jews,” she added.
But don’t worry, it’s not all bad. After all, Margolyes continued, “I’m lucky they like me, and one always needs a Jewish accountant.”
Maybe someone should lay off the mandrake potion from now on…
Legendary newsman Ben Bradlee was put to rest on Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
But among the traditional hymns and psalms listed in the program, something stands out: Hebrew script, spelling out the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for mourning.
Now, the former Washington Post executive editor, who died October 21 at the age of 93, was far from Jewish. In fact, it’s hard to think of a more WASP-y figure. His father, Frederick Josiah Bradlee Jr. (his friends called him “B”), could name his American ancestors 10 generations back.
His mother, however, may hold the key to Bradlee’s affinity for the tribe. Josephine de Gersdorff Bradlee, received the Legion of Honor for her work keeping children safe from Nazi forces during World War II.
Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who worked with Bradlee on the Watergate articles that brought down President Richard Nixon, remembered their mentor’s wise words of advice:
Four decades ago, Ben Bradlee told us his general theory of newspapering and life: “Nose down, ass up and moving steadily forward into the future.”
He understood the past and its importance, but he was utterly liberated from it. The past was history to learn from. And he refused to let himself be emotionally encumbered by it or deterred by either the lows or the highs.
In advance of the anticipated arrival in New York in 2015 of the “Freedom Frigate” Hermione-Lafayette — Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America celebrated its Inaugural October Gala aboard the USS Intrepid Air & Space Museum. Moet Hennessy flowed and a leggy beauty dispensed teaspoonfuls of Petrossian caviar to the black tie guests — six hundred strong from across the globe.
Presented by FOH-LA President Miles Young the first recipient of the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America Leadership award was Dr. Henry Kissinger.
The award is in honor of the French frigate which sailed from Rochefort on March 21, 1780 arriving in Boston with a contingent of French reinforcements who joined General Washington and fought in the American campaign for eighteen months until victory.
Charlie Rose and Henry Kissinger // Photo by Karen Leon
Following the award presentation, French philosopher and author of “American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of de Tocqueville” Bernard-Henri Levy — dashing in his signature chemise empassee (an unbuttoned blinding white shirt) — declared: “Charlie Rose, one of my dearest friends, is to us French people “a table.” Citing “famous tables” of history such as the Tabula Rasa of Francis Bacon and Descartes, …the Last Supper… the Table of the Oval Office…the table of the Card Player of Cezanne and today there is the ‘Table of Charlie Rose’ [for he] he invented the world table. [He is] the reinventor of an art which for a long time was considered a French art — the art of conversation. He is the master of what Hannah Arendt called the world of ideas…an agent of resistance to noise, silence and twitter.” From where I sat I was sure I saw Charlie Rose blushing.
“What this evening is about,” responded Rose, “is America’s oldest friends: France and Lafayette.” He touted Lafayette’s “love for America,” which “caused a young man to come here and identify with a young nation…and it made all the difference and that is what we are celebrating this evening…. [And] for me to be mentioned in the same breath, as Henry Kissinger is a deep honor. As all of you may know, he is the one person I have interviewed more than anyone else. Period! He has the longest number of hours at what Bernard called ‘the table.’” Rose noted, “Henry’s sense of appreciation of what immigrants have brought to this country is amazing!”
Rose then proceeded to do an on-stage “table” interview with Madame Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, who diplomatically fielded Rose’s queries vis a vis major international political, and economic issues. The menu, inspired by the cuisine of Poitou–Charentes whence “The Hermione” sailed for America, was curated by Ariane Daguin, CEO of “D’Artagnan” and included the classic Poulet Grand Mere (Grandmother’s chicken!).
Intended as a “permanent ambassador” of Franco-American friendship, the Hermione’s meticulous authentic reconstruction includes “400,000 wood and metal parts, 2,000 oaks selected from French forests, 1,000 pulley blocks, 26 canons firing 12-pound canon balls and “the restoration of the hull made entirely of oak reaching 1 meter thickness — inconceivable today but used in the 18th century to withstand enemy cannonballs.”
Golden State Warriors owner Peter Guber with basketball star Jermaine O’Neal/Getty Images
(JTA) — Oy. Talk about auto-correct fails.
In an email to team employees, the Jewish owner of a pro basketball team said he wanted to learn “hoodish.” He apparently meant to write “Yiddish.”
Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber sent out a follow-up email clarifying that the use of “hoodish” (which this writer’s auto-correct keeps trying to change to “goodish”) was not intended as a slur, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Happy birthday Jonas Salk!
Today’s Google Doodle pays tribute to the Jewish inventor of the polio vaccine, born 100 years ago today in New York City. Been a long time since high school science class? Here’s a little refresher:
Jonas Salk 1914, New York City - 1995, San Diego) graduated from New York University with a medical degree in 1939. His parents, Jewish Ashkenazi immigrants with little formal education, were eager to see their children succeed. Salk first worked on developing an influenza vaccination before becoming interested in the polio virus. He developed a vaccination which used dead virus, also known as inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). The field trial for the vaccine was one of the largest of its kind, with over 600,000 schoolchildren injected with the vaccine or a placebo, and a million more serving as “observed” controls. In 1955, the vaccine, which showed 90% effectiveness, was approved to international acclaim. He continued his biomedical research in the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, which he founded in San Diego, Ca., focusing on multiple sclerosis and HIV.
The polio virus is transmitted through water and faeces, where it can remain infectious for a long period of time, and causes paralysis. Children are especially vulnerable. Today, it’s easy to forget the terror caused by polio epidemics. In 2009, a PBS documentary declared that, “Apart from the atomic bomb, America’s greatest fear was polio.” In the 1950s, between 25,000 and 50,000 new cases of polio were diagnosed every year in the United States alone. When news that Salk’s vaccine testing was successful went public in 1955, he was hailed as a “miracle maker.”) In fact, April 12, 1955 almost became a national holiday . The last U.S. polio case was reported in 1979.
Salk’s vaccine uses dead polio viruses, grown on monkey kidney and then inactivated with formaldehyde. The main disadvantage of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is that the immunization is not life-long. Albert Sabin, another member of the tribe, developed an oral polio vaccine around the same time, which uses live viruses and digested orally, making it cheaper and easier administrate. Immunization is life-long, but the vaccination carries a small risk of infection, especially in people with compromised immune systems. In 2000, the U.S. government switched back to recommending the use of Salk’s vaccine because the risks associated with Sabin’s oral vaccine, which outweighed the cost benefits.
Courtesy of ITV
SPOILER ALERT If you are one of those who actually waits the four-month purgatory period between when “Downton Abbey” airs in the United Kingdom and in the United States, you may want to avoid this blog post. Until January 4, that is.
Attention fellow tribe-members! There is a Jewish boy on this season of “Downton Abbey.” Atticus Aldridge, played by Matt Barber, appears in season 5 as Lady Rose’s new love interest. He’s tall, dashing and did we mention, a lord — and it turns out he’s a member of a Ukrainian Jewish family that fled the pogroms in Odessa.
This doesn’t seem to bother Rose, but really what does? The rest of the family seem pretty keen on Aldrige, including the Dowager Countess, though her reaction when she finds out his true origins is right on point: “There’s always something, isn’t there?”
This is the first confirmed Jewish sighting on the hit series. We first had our hopes pegged on Lady Cora Crawley, described as “the beautiful daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods multimillionaire from Cincinnati.” As it turns out, her father was one of the Chosen, but as the Jewish Chronicle points out, Cora and her brother Harold were raised Episcopalian.
Welcome to the Downton-verse Atticus Aldridge! Mrs. Pattmore may have to start brushing up on her challah recipes.
Dr. Ruth has some tips for those of you looking to get a little something something this Halloween: no tricks, just treats.
The 86-year-old Jewish sex expert has taken to Twitter to share her best advice for some loving on the most spooky of holidays. We’ve picked out some of our favorite tidbits. Read and learn, folks.
On Halloween it's OK to wear fake hair, fake teeth even fake boobs. When all that comes off, however, hope you don't fake an orgasm— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 30, 2014
Don't fear zombies tom'w night, they don't exist. STDs do so be extra careful once that costume of yours comes off— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 30, 2014
Tom'w is Halloween. Are you prepared? I know you have a costume but do you have a place to put your condom in it?— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 30, 2014
This weekend practice putting your Halloween costume on….and off!— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 24, 2014
Seems there are scary clowns out there w/more coming Halloween. Best defense? Stay home in bed w/your partner, no make up, no clothes!— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 27, 2014
Looking to meet someone at a Halloween party Fri? Wear costume that will stimulate others' intellect, conversations will follow— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 27, 2014
Or, if all else fails, there’s always the sexy Olaf from “Frozen” costume. Good luck!
Billy Crystal found another touching way to honor his close friend Robin Williams.
Williams, an avid San Francisco Giants fan, lived in the Bay Area for a long time. So, before game five of the World Series on Sunday night, Crystal helped bring Williams’ children — Zelda, Cody, and Zak – out onto AT&T Field during a video tribute for the late legend of comedy on the stadium’s big screen. Crystal caught the ceremonial first pitch from Williams’ son Zak and then warmed up the crowd for the start of the game. Zak celebrated as if he had won the World Series for the home team.
Apparently, Crystal and Williams used to bro-out at games together. In 2007 they met Giants manager Bruce Bochy in the Giants dugout of an inter-league game between the Giants and the Yankees.
And that brings out what made last night’s tribute more special: Crystal isn’t even a Giants fan, he’s a huge Yankees fan.
Great nite at WS in SF. Caught first pitch strike thrown by Zak Williams Robins son.Fans showered him with love. pic.twitter.com/2LChmwOuFr— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) October 27, 2014
Joking about his height at the podium at the October 13 U.S. Air Force, Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club’s 18th Annual Military Ball, U.S. Army (Ret) Col. Jack Jacobs — the only living Jewish recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor — cautioned the bemedaled and gowned military assemblage at The Pierre not “to take potshots” about “my standing on a box.”
Jacobs thanked SSMAC Chairman and CEO Ivan Obolensky and its executive director Hazel Cathers, “who labor tirelessly to make sure that there is a home for the troops who worked [and] fought to defend the homeland — without whom we would not be here today and I — and lots of people have to thank the troops…. For we and lots of other people in the world would not be enjoying the fruits of their labors — freedom which is priceless and can only be paid with — as has been said many times — since the [American] Revolution — with the blood of patriots. “
Col. Jacobs — whose curriculum vitae notes “ is among the most highly decorated soldiers from the [Vietnam] era having earned three Bonze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor” was, among others, a founder and CEO of AutoFinance Group Inc., a Managing Director of Bankers Trust, a London real estate firm The Fitzroy Group and serves on a number of charitable boards of directors, was an on air analyst for NBC News and recipient of the 2011 Murrow Award on the Nightly News segment “Iraq: The Long Way Out” (and more).
Emceed by WPIX’s Marvin Scott, the event’s honorees included General Mark A. Welsh III Chief of Staff, U .S. Air Force, Lieutenant General Stephen L. Hoog Asst. Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force., and Emmy Award-winning journalist WPIX 11 News Anchor Tamsen Fadalwho received SSMAC’s Distinguished Media Achievement Award.
Among the festive and uniformed guests: Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia, Countess Nicholas (Tanya) Bobrinkskoy, Helen Roosevelt, Iriina Dvorjitsky San Fillipo, Margo and John Catsimatidis, and newscaster/author Rita Cosby.
Founded in 1919 by Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Mrs. Cornelia Barnes Rogers, and Gen. John J. Pershing, SSMAC has served over five million Servicemen and Servicewomen, veterans and their families and those of our Allies with its “Home Away from Home” accommodations at its Lexington Avenue site.
On August 13, 2003, the day of the Northeast Blackout, Karen Leon (this column’s photographer and my daughter) had just left the Forward building at its then 33rd Street home when lights began to go out in Manhattan. There was no way to get out of the city so she walked over to the SSMAC Club and was welcome. By candlelight she slept on a cot, shared canned tuna and listened to war stories told by servicemen and women from across America. It was a night to remember.
Too lazy to sort through your parents’ kippah drawer? Now, you can print one — in 3D.
Craig Kaplan, an associate professor in the Computer Graphics Lab at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, rarely leaves the house without his Panama hat in warmer weather.
He wanted to design a 3-D printed version of the traditional hat, but he decided to start with an easier shape to reproduce: a yarmulke, or kippah — a plate-shaped head covering worn by observant Jews.
“After that,” he says, “it was just a matter of working through the mathematics — programming and 3-D modeling to make these kippah designs a reality.”
And yes, before you ask, it is kosher. Caplan consulted with rabbis to make sure that his model could be worn worry-free by all members of the tribe (though as Heeb points out, why you would need one is a whole other story).
There’s a downside, however. As Caplan pointed out to NPR, “they don’t do as good of a job at concealing the aging Jewish male’s bald spot, as I can personally attest.”
Swissinfo.ch reports that coffee lovers in Switzerland complained after waking up to a certain mustachioed dictator’s face along with their morning cup of Joe. The problematic creamers have popped up in a number of restaurants and cafes.
The packaging was part of a special collection 30 creamer lids featuring cigar band designs, created by Karo-Versand. The merchandise is still for sale on the company website, but Peter Rothenbühler, a Karo-Versand worker, confirmed that the no more Hitler lids would be manufactured.
“We weren’t observant enough to notice the picture of Hitler,” he said. But in retrospect, we should have paid more attention.”
Swiss retailer Migros announced (link in German) that it would no longer do business with Karo-Versand. Other festive lids in the collection feature images of Benito Mussolini, various flowers and animals, and John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States.
“You cannot murder eleven million people without the cooperation of journalists, doctors, lawyers, society as a whole,” declared Peter John Sacripanti, chair at the FASPE (Fellowship at Auschwitz For The Study of Professional Ethics) inaugural dinner held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Anthony Kronman, emcee and former dean of Yale Law School informed that FASPE is now in its 5th operational year “in the presence of Auschwitz… FASPE enables young professionals “to learn from the experience of their counterparts during the period of the Third Reich—sharpen their understanding [of] what they did and did not do…what courage looks like in human form.”
Honored posthumously was critic of the Nazi regime Blessed Bernhard Lichtenberg, of the Diocese of Berlin who organized protests outside concentration camps, led public prayers for Jews, and filed complaints against the Nazi Party. Following a two-year imprisonment, he resumed his criticism of the Nazis, was re-arrested and killed enroute to Dachau on November 5, 1943 at age 67. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1966, he was honored as Righteous Among Nations at Yad Vashem.
Refusing to accept the posthumous award to Father Lichtenberg, Rev. Joseph Michael McShane S.J. President, Fordham University, said, “ We live in dark times again. Anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head through the world. In some places it assumed a genteel form. In others it is as brutal as it was in Hitler’s time.” Quoting Lichtenberg’s response to 1938 Kristallnacht he said, “’I reject with all my strength the deportation of the Jews with all its side effects, because it is directed against the most important commandment of Christianity: ‘You shall love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’”
Floris Dreesman Head of Audi Brand Strategy, accepted the FASPE award for Ethical Leadership and “its unflinching extensive examination…in horrifying detail… of the use that its predecessor company Autounion…had made of slave workers provided by the SS/Third Reich.”
The evening’s cerebral dessert was a Q&A with Randy Cohen, original ethicist of the New York Times Magazine, who — combining rabbinic-Freudian-Stand-Up-Comic wisdom — fielded questions from FASPE alumni.
Sample query: “As a rabbi, I officiated at a wedding that had a low likelihood of success and was in a quandary over saying something?” A smiling Cohen mused: “This is a question for the Jesuits.” [laughter!]. Chances of [any] marriage surviving is fifty-fifty. They are not asking you if they should get married. That’s what they ask their therapist [laughter]. They are asking you to just bless their union. You do not get to approve or disapprove of whom people love.”
Another puzzler was posited by a Jewish female hospital chaplain who saw a gorgeous guy on an on-line dating site. Just before answering him — the only Jewish chaplain on call — she ends up counseling him and his family pending a heart operation for his mother. “Can they meet?” she asked Cohen.
“This is not a moral question, but a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” he replied. “You are only a chaplain for a small part of his life…you are not counseling beyond this incident.”
And so, another pop star jumps on the Kabbalah bandwagon.
Move over, Ashton and Madonna — this time, it’s Ariana Grande’s turn to spill the beans on her connection to the Jewish mystical practice. The former Nickelodeon darling told the Telegraph that though raised in a Catholic home in Boca Raton, Florida, she turned to Kabbalah in her teens because of the Church’s stance on homosexuality. Her brother, Frankie, whom she “adored and worshipped” growing up, is gay.
“When my brother was told that God didn’t love him I was like, ‘OK, that’s not cool,’” the 21-year-old said. “They were building a Kabbalah centre in Florida so we both checked it out and really had a connection with it. Since then my life has unfolded in a really beautiful way, and I think that it has a lot to do with the tools I’ve learnt through Kabbalah, I really do.’
Asked what she means by “tools,” she answered:
“You have to watch your intentions, make sure you’re not giving in to your ego. You have to numb your reactive state. You have the power to change your reality,” she says, clapping her hands together. “You have to take a second and breathe and reassess how you want to approach or react to a situation or approach an obstacle, or deal with a negative person in your space. That takes a lot of self-control and practice and, I guess, willpower,” she concludes with an embarrassed laugh.
Maybe she and Britney can bond over growing up to be pop stars with big bouncy ponytails, and their love for red string.
Alina Voronina from Moscow poses for the contest
Last week, Vocativ reported that VKontakte, essentially Russia’s version of Facebook, was hosting a Miss Hitler Pageant.
As one would expect, people got a little upset about it.
Hosted on the site’s Adolf Hitler page, the Miss Ostland pageant, as it’s officially known, called on women “who hate Jews” to share their most “sexy Nazi pics” of themselves. Admirers of all things Hitler (the page had 7,000 followers) would then vote for the most beautiful anti-Semite in all the land (to see pictures of the main contenders, click here).
Fortunately, people seemed to have regained their sanity, and the contest has been cancelled. Vocativ reports that the page has been taken down. VKontakte’s head of public relations George Lobushkin told Vocativ that “loading, storing, publishing, disseminating, making available or otherwise using any information which: propagandizes and/or contributes to racial, religious, ethnic hatred or hostility, propagandizes fascism or racial superiority,” violates the site’s Terms of Service.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest Aryan of them all? I guess we’ll never know.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows she’s badass. She’s got the t-shirts to prove it.
At an event held at the 92nd Street Y on Sunday night, the Supreme Court justice explained that she has “quite a large supply” of t-shirts showing her face and the slogan “Notorious RBG,” referencing rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as The Notorious B.I.G.
During the interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg said she gives them out as gifts to her friends:
Totenberg: On a somewhat lighter note, I want to ask you about the Notorious RBG t-shirt.[Applause, Cheers]. I gather there are some people he who’ve worn them. I wear mine on the weekends all the time. And people will occasionally—The guy at the drug store said to me last weekend, he said, who is that woman, she looks very familiar, but who is she? I said she’s a Supreme Court justice. He said, oh good, I’ve learned something today. So how did you find out about the notorious RBG t-shirts.
Ginsburg: I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. I have—and in fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG—
Totenberg: Two of my three. I bought one.
Ginsburg: I have quite a large supply.
Totenberg: Do you have the one—what’s the one ‘you can’t have truth without Ruth’”
Ginsburg: Without Ruth. [nods]
So, Ruth… I guess mine just got lost in the mail?
You can now tweet with that woman.
Monica Lewinsky, self proclaimed “social activist. public speaker. contributor to vanity fair. knitter of things without sleeves,” has joined Twitter. With two tweets under her belt, the woman whose blue dress almost brought down a president already has over 8,000 followers and a verified account.
Her first tweet, posted earlier this morning, is a little ominous:
Lewinsky’s Twitter debut coincided with her speech at Forbes’ Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia, in which she addressed the issue of cyberbullying.
“I was Patient Zero,” the 41-year old told the crowd. “The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet… Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too. I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”
Ironically, The New Republic reports that Lewinsky’s mentions feed is already full of mean tweets.
Welcome Monica! Don’t let the haters get you down.
Are you conflicted about what Halloween costume to buy your kids? Are you torn between the bumble bee, Frozen’s Elsa and Spiderman costumes? Have no fear, maybe you can dress them in something with a little more history, like a World War II child evacuee.
Sold on Amazon and UK’s eBay sites, the costumes feature a little girl with a smile on her face, her hand on her hip and a luggage tag on her coat. For about $18 you can also have your child trick-or-treat in this “WWII evacuee wartime fancy dress.”
And it’s only a matter of time before they start making the slutty version of this.
Also available for boys so no one feels left out.
The 2014 Appeal of Conscience Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria boasted more than 1000 guests and included a large contingent of exquisitely gowned women. Honored were Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
Cardinal Theodor M. Dolanoffered a prayer and Secretary of the Holy See Cardinal Pietro Parolin brought greetings. Prefacing president Nieto’s address, Henry Kissinger lauded Mexico’s president as having “in less than two years opened up a new and even better future for Mexico” which has “transformed itself into a dynamic, vibrant, modern democracy.” Kissinger touted NAFTA and urged the reduction of “trade barriers” and making “our borders smarter [to] enhance our common security.”
Accepting the Appeal’s World Statesman Award, “on behalf of my entire country Mexico,” president Nieto said that he shared the moment “with religious and corporate leaders committed to universal principles…human rights, peace among all peoples, tolerance and camaraderie.” His roster of statistics included: “Mexico is one of the few true bio-diverse countries with 10% of our planet’s species found there….our population is the world’s 11th largest and 50% of it is under 27 years. ” He concluded with the hope that Mexico be a “nation of tolerance and harmony, in which all Mexicans can fully enjoy their Human Rights, make their dreams come true and be happy.”
Apropos Disney’s message of optimism, Bob Iger declared, “It’s an essential part of our company’s DNA [emanating] from our founder Walt Disney who always looked beyond today to the possibilities of tomorrow, convinced our future could be brighter than our past…. We want good to conquer evil…peace instead of conflict…and who doesn’t want to live ‘happily ever after’?” Citing the global disasters, Iger said “Even people who believe in the same god are killing each other over the proper way to worship…. Our future will be determined by our ability to resolve this disturbing dichotomy…and it will take more than military might and diplomacy…. We’re here tonight because we’re optimists…we believe humanity can do better.”
Barra informed that “GM was Disney’s first corporate partner at EPCOT 1979… we’ve been with Disney ever since.” Recalling her recent meeting with President Nieto and his team in Mexico, she said, “Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of GM operations in Mexico.”
“The life I lead today was not remotely possible just a generation ago,” said Barra. “My father was a die maker at GM’s Pontiac Motor Division for 39 years. He retired from GM in 1980—the same year I started…. He saw GM elect its first woman board member… establish the industry’s first supplier and minority dealer programs…. And he probably never imagined a day when GM would employ more than 32,000 women around the globe…. and I doubt he ever imagined the GM would have a woman CEO.”
In his address, Rabbi Arthur Schneier — founder of Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue–addressed the plight of Christians in the Middle East, the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and articulated his oft stated mantra: ”The hijacking of religion by barbarians is the greatest crime against religion and humanity.”