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Saturday, November 1, 2014

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Israel Museum gets gift

Tags: Arts
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Some 74 photographs by famed photographer Richard Avedon, created between 1969 and 1974, have been gifted to the Israel Museum of Jerusalem. The works include Avedon’s iconic oversized mural – 20-feet-wide and eight-feet-high -of Allen Ginsberg’s family.

Avedon began his career in the mid-1940s as a genre-bending fashion photographer, who introduced narrative elements into traditional fashion spreads. In 1969 he adopted what would become his signature portrait style –   subjects posed singly and in groups against stark white backgrounds that allowed their personalities to emerge. The works gifted to the Israel Museum capture this moment of transition in his career.

The Avedon photographs are scheduled to go on view at the Israel Museum in the spring.

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Beth Tzedec Lectures: Educator Hana Werner discusses “Family Feuds in the Bible” in a series of 10 lectures, five in October and five in May, at Beth Tzedec Congregation. The first session, “The Rift: Joseph and his Brothers,” takes place Oct. 2; dessert 1 p.m, lecture 1:30 p.m. $10 at the door, or $50 for 10 sessions. Sponsored in memory of Cantor Joseph Cooper. Please RSVP to 416-781-3514 ext. 225, or 416-781-3511.

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Jewish Cuban Fusion: Musician David Buchbinder teams up with pianist Hilario Duran and Odessa/Havana, a crew of top jazz musicians, to perform Jewish-Cuban fusion music at the Small World Music Festival. The CD release celebration is $20 in advance, $30 at the door. Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W. Sunday Sept. 29, 8 p.m. http:// smallworldmusic.com

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Political Corner: One might expect an organization that purports to care about justice and peace in the Middle East to speak out about the recent poison-gas atrocities in Syria or the millions of refugees and displaced people there. Perhaps it might also spare a word or two about Iran, the chief supporter and exporter of terrorism across the Middle East, which is in the final stages of building a nuclear weapon. And then there is Egypt . . . the list goes on. 

 Despite its misleading name, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is largely a propagandistic pro-Palestinian advocacy organization. In the ridiculously simplistic and myopic view of CJPME members and the Israeli-apartheid left, Israel is irredeemably tainted, deserving of boycott, divestment, sanction and worse.

As expected, its membership is leavened with some of the country’s most ardent anti-Israel activists, including John Greyson, the Toronto filmmaker currently languishing in an Egyptian prison after being arrested while on his way to Gaza. Greyson gained notoriety in 2009 through an attempt to shame the Toronto International Film Festival for highlighting the city of Tel Aviv.

Recently a group of Canadian writers issued an open letter under CJPME’s banner, protesting an Israeli plan to relocate some Palestinians and Bedouins in the Southern Hebron Hills. Four respected writers –  Wayson Choy, Nino Ricci, Kyo Maclear and Terry Fallis – are giving a reading in Toronto this week in support of that protest and CJPME in general.

Without wishing to diminish the right of the writers to express their political opinions, it seems a shame that they have lent their good names to bolster the reputation of the seriously biased CJPME. The writers should bear in mind that their own credibility is also at stake. Future biographers will certainly wonder at their precipitous rush to adopt Israel as their political-protest “Flavour of the Month,” to the telling exclusion of countless, far more pressing concerns in every corner of the world.

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