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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Making Hillary Clinton Invisible: Is Criticism of Hasidism Antisemitism?

So I was reading this post over on Jezebel this morning about Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung editing the images of Hillary Clinton and counter-terrorism expert Audrey Thomason out of the photo of the Osama bin Laden raid Situation Room. Why? Because the paper doesn’t publish photos of women, of course. Pictures of women, apparently, are considered “sexually suggestive.”

The Photoshopping of history to remove women from the room is reprehensible, Hasidic Jewish paper or not, but it’s the comments section of the post that’s most interesting, as discussion quickly turns from a discussion on whether the paper was wrong to edit out the presence of two women to begin with to a heated debate on whether the very act of criticizing a Hasidic paper for acting according to Hasidic law amounts to anti-Semitism.

Years ago when I was working for Kodak, the company acquired a photo imaging company based in Israel, and our group had to adjust to working with a corporate culture imbued with ideas about gender relations with which most of us — including Jewish team members — were completely unfamiliar. The guys from Israel wouldn’t speak to or acknowledge women in meetings — even women who were high-ranking executives.

It was befuddling and more than a little infuriating to many of us on the team to be expected to respect and accommodate a “cultural difference” that completely devalued the female members of our team. I flat out told my boss I wouldn’t manage any project in which I was expected to work with men who refused to speak to me or acknowledge my existence, and I’d do the same today. Apart from the impracticality of being able to successfully manage a project when you have people on the team who won’t accept that you are in charge of things and work with you in that capacity simply because you have a vagina instead of a penis, I personally was just not willing to put myself in a situation of having to work in those conditions.

What do you think? Was the Jezebel poster anti-Semitic in calling out a Hasidic paper for photo-shopping the women out of the situation room? Or is the commenter who lambasted her way off base?

6 Responses to “Making Hillary Clinton Invisible: Is Criticism of Hasidism Antisemitism?”

  1. If any other religious newspaper pulled this (Christian, Islamic, etc), there would be no second-guessing any criticism. It’s sexism guised up in some myth about ‘putting women on a pedestal’. It’s still no different than any other excuse that religious fundamentalists use to disenfranchise women.

  2. I think it is off base to for the Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung to Photoshop the images of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counter-terrorism expert Audrey Thomason out of an historic photograph of the Situation Room during the raid of bin Laden’s compound. They were not only being prejudice towards women, they were altering the facts of history by altering that photograph. I do not see how that newspaper can be viewed as serious journalism. “Without offense to friend or foe, I sketch the world exactly as it goes.”-Lord Byron has been the longstanding motto of our local newspaper. It represents the true spirit and end of journalism. Der Tziung has to acknowledge that they are in the United States of America where women are in offices of upmost importance and position and where dignity and equality is emphasized for all people. What do they do about family photos?
    Also, I think Kim Voynar’s experience years ago at Kodak with Hasidic men of a Photo Imaging Company based in Israel was deplorable and not acceptable by business standards. Those men should have had the strength to step outside their comfort level to work with others in a cooperative effort to get a job done. Many of us have had to step outside our comfort level on a daily basis to work with team members who present a challenge to us. They may not share our values or sense of family commitment, may have a different lifestyle, sense of humor, different faith or denomination, or lack thereof, and different personality. These team members may be from differing walks of life, differing places of origin, and differing customs. There may be difference in age, gender, race, or ethnic origin. We do not have to marry any of these people or make them our best friends. But we all have to work together to accomplish a goal. It’s called being professional.

  3. pleazzer says:

    There should be OUTRAGE over this and to walk on egg shells just because it has a religious base and staff is only more of the same ole PCC (Political Correct Crap). If they can alter news they then become a political organization and SHOULD PAY TAXES like any other origination that does not follow their religious spouting crap.

  4. christian says:

    Organized Religion is a plague.

  5. Kim Voynar says:

    I guess for me the issue is, to what extent should a person’s personal religious beliefs be allowed to bleed over into a business context, where they impact other people?

    Put another way: What if instead of Hasidic Jews, these guys had been white supremacists, and had refused to speak to or acknowledge the existence of minorities in this same context? Would a corporation tolerate that?

  6. anon says:

    Of course it is not antisemitic.

    But if you are going to play that game, ask yourself “what semitic religion still actually stones women to death for fking?”

    If your answer is, thats not fair I was trying to bash Jews! Then you have a problem.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
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“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
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