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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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~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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