The Shmooze

Ismail Haniyeh Injured in Soccer Match

By Nathan Jeffay

In the delicate Middle East, leaders are constantly watching their backs. But not quite enough, so it seems. Of all the hazards facing Ismail Haniyeh — Palestinian Prime Minister, according to his organization Hamas, a pretender to the throne, according to Fatah, and a terrorist, according to Israel — who would have thought that the real danger looms on the soccer field?

Haniyeh, a prolific footballer when he’s not inciting hatred against Israel, was reportedly injured on the soccer field earlier today. He will be on the sidelines for ten days, under doctor’s orders to rest.

This part of the world is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Who can forget the South Sinai governor, Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha, who was reported in December to have suggested that Mossad was behind a string of shark attacks in the Red Sea? How long before it’s claimed that Israel made the grass on the soccer pitch wonky, or untied Haniyeh’s shoelaces to make him wobbly on his feet?

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Conspiracy, Fatah, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Soccer

Arabic Letters Flooding Into Knesset, Members Unhappy

By Nathan Jeffay

It has to be one of the most common comments on the Middle East conflict. “If only everyone would resort to dialogue instead of turning to violence.” But when Knesset members start receiving emails from Arabs on the conflict, some seem to be unimpressed.

Ynet reports that lawmakers have started to receive “large numbers” of emails in Arabic, which according to Likud’s Yariv Levin who is quoted, contain “information about the Palestinian issue.”

He has concluded that the emails come from Palestinians who “seek to flood MKs’ mailboxes, apparently in order to disrupt their work.” But here’s a thought. What if they just result from a letter-writing campaign in Palestinian circles – like those commonly run across the free world - by people who want to influence things through the democratic process?

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Middle East, Letters, Knesset, Arabic

Mossad's Most Outrageous Plots

By Nathan Burstein

Spend enough time getting your news from the Middle East, and you, too, might conclude there’s no dark deed, no far-fetched plot, that’s too complicated or bizarre for the Mossad.

Arab governments and pundits have focused recently on the Mossad’s dark dealings in the animal world, “arresting” an allegedly Zionist vulture in Saudi Arabia, and suggesting Israel might be behind a series of shark attacks off the Sinai Peninsula. (Really! These accusations have really been made.)

To help readers stay abreast of new developments, Foreign Policy’s “The List” blog has helpfully catalogued recent accusations of Mossad malevolence, ranging from the vulture incident to a Turkish newspaper’s suggestion of a Zionist plot behind a heavy-metal concert in Istanbul.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Foreigh Policy, Middle East, Mossad

Will Cosmo Mag Get Un-Sexy for New Middle East Edition?

By Nathan Burstein

Whether they’re Arab or Jewish, women in the Middle East will soon have one more thing in common: access to Cosmopolitan magazine.

Hearst Magazines announced Wednesday that it is launching an Arab-world version of Cosmo, which will join 60 other editions selling in 100 countries. Despite headlines like one on MediaBistro.com that announced, “Cosmopolitan to Roll Out Middle East Edition in March,” the new magazine will not be the first Cosmo in the region. Israel already prints a Hebrew version, which in December featured singer Katy Perry on its cover and informed readers about what types of men are attracted to certain perfumes. (It also provided them with “3 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Bootylicious.”)

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Middle East, Katy Perry, Hearst, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Bootylicious, Arab

Pamela Anderson's New Israeli Dancing Gig

By Nathan Burstein

Pamela Anderson is set to become TV’s biggest prime-time star — in Israel.

The former “Baywatch” actress has signed on to serve as a guest judge and dancer on “Rokdim Im Kochavim,” Israel’s version of “Dancing With the Stars.” According to an October 4 report in the country’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper, the former model and Playboy cover girl will appear on the series’s judging panel for an undisclosed number of episodes, offering feedback to competitors and taking a spin of her own on the dance floor. The gig follows Anderson’s appearance earlier this year on the American edition of “Dancing With the Stars,” in which the 43-year-old took sixth place ahead of rivals including Buzz Aldrin and Shannen Doherty.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: shannen Doherty, Rokdim Im Kochavim, Middle East, Pamela Anderson, Israel, Dancing With The Stars, Buzz Aldrin

Jon Voight to Obama: You Lied to the Jewish People

By Devra Ferst

Countless Americans and people around the globe criticize Obama daily (it’s part of the job). But it’s just something special when a major celebrity (and father of a an even more major celebrity) does it in ink.

Jon Voight, actor and father of Angelina Jolie, attacked Obama’s treatment of Israel and Jews in an open letter published Tuesday in the conservative Washington Times:

“President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Middle East, Jon Voight, Jane Fonda, Israel, Celebrity, Angelina Jolie, Obama

Jews Share Genetic Roots

By Elissa Strauss

A new genetic study, the largest of its kind, has found a genetic link between seven distinct groups of Jews, confirming a communal origin in the Middle East. The study, which was led by Harry Ostrer, a geneticist at New York University School of Medicine, and published yesterday in The American Journal of Human Genetics, proved that while Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Italian, Turkish, Greek and Ashkenazi Jews all have their own genetic signature, they show some overlap.

Researchers discovered that 2,500 years ago Iranian and Iraqi Jews separated from European and Syrian Jews and formed distinct groups, but with a common origin. They also learned that any two Ashkenazi Jews are likely to share as much DNA as fourth or fifth cousins.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Middle East, New York University, Jewish Roots, Genetic, American Journal Of Human Genetics




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