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Your daily spiel for Monday, Aug. 15

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Alleged hiding place of the Gold Train in Wałbrzych, Poland WIKI COMMONS PHOTO

Your Daily Spiel is The CJN’s daily roundup of trending stories in the Jewish world. Sign up to receive it in your inbox by clicking here.


Kanye’s not the only rapper getting into politics. For anyone who went on a Birthright Israel trip during the early 2000’s, you’re likely familiar with the music of Subliminal and The Shadow. The duo’s hard-hitting Hebrew rap anthems conquered the airwaves, solidifying Israeli hip hop as part of the country’s musical landscape. Shortly after their rise to fame, The Shadow, a.k.a. Yoav Eliasi, disappeared from the spotlight, before emerging again in 2011 as a social media celebrity famous for supporting some extreme right-wing ideologies. (For example, he once suggested that Israel ‘castrate’ dead Palestinian terrorists to deter would-be martyrs from wanting to meet 72 virgins in Heaven). Now, at the brink of his popularity (with a quarter million fans on Facebook), Likud member Oren Hazan has signed up Eliasi to become a member of his party.

Not only white supremacists, but terrorists too. Donald Trump has had some controversial backers during his campaign for U.S. presidency, namely David Duke and the entire KKK, and now the Donald can add another high-profile organization to his list of supporters: Hezbollah. Yes, the Lebanon-based terror group has openly supported Trump’s claim that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are the founders of ISIS. “This is an American presidential candidate who is saying this,” said the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah this week. “What he says is based on facts and documents.”

How Canadian journos cover Israel. A new report in The CJN takes a look at how Canadian journalists cover news in Israel and the Middle East and if an alleged ‘anti-Israel’ bias actually exists in the media. It seems that most reporters worth a damn don’t harbour any political agenda, but readers will still criticize (or praise) their work anyway, especially on a subject as polarizing as Israel. Jeffrey Dvorkin of NPR said some Jewish readers even threatened him after accusing his reporting of being one-sided. “It seemed to me,” Dvorkin told The CJN, “that their expectations were that journalism should support Israel pretty much 100 per cent of the time.”

Foreign Correspondence

The hunt is on, again. Last year, a story broke out about the infamous ‘Nazi gold train’ that’s buried somewhere in Poland, despite a compelling lack of evidence. Two men claimed they had located the train, but eventually, after no such luck, they seemingly abandoned their quest. Now, it appears the quest for Nazi gold is back on. “The train isn’t a needle in a haystack. If it’s there, we’ll find it,” said a spokesperson for the project Andrzej Gaik. Good luck out there, I guess.

Pressure mounting for Baaba Maal. Popular Senegalese musician Baaba Maal is set to perform in Israel’s capital this September and, of course, will first have to go through the uncomfortable process of saying no to BDS enthusiasts who use their political agenda to alienate and put pressure on artists like himself. Artists for Palestine UK have published an open letter to Maal that compares Israel to South African apartheid and claims that Jerusalem is ‘occupied territory.’ (Doesn’t seem like the group believes Jerusalem has a foundation in Judaism, either, or that Palestinian ‘leaders’ like Hamas have anything to do with the obstacles Palestinians face daily).

Never too late to go dark. At 82, Canadian Jewish singer Leonard Cohen is set to release his 14th album, You Want it Darker, one his label Sony Music refers to as a collection of “haunting new songs.” The album is produced by Cohen’s son, Adam, and features nine new compositions. No word yet on a release date.


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