A New Film Tries, and Fails, to Make Black-Jewish Relations Funny

With a star-studded cast that includes Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Eddie Murphy, Netflix’s You People has a conventional plot: a Jewish man and a black woman plan to marry, their respective families meet, cultural differences and mutual prejudices come to the fore, and comedy ensues. But, writes Allison Josephs, the film fails to be funny, trivializes the Holocaust, and lets the notion that Jews grew rich from the slave trade go unquestioned. Worse still, in Joseph’s view, is that every character “loves Black culture and no one in the film loves Jewish culture. In fact, they hate it.” She adds:

[I]n You People, Jews are not considered a marginalized group. Instead, they are white, rich, privileged, and responsible for the suffering of marginalized people in the world.

Through several examples, we see that Ezra, [the Jewish suitor], is a pathological liar. He pretends to know neighborhoods and songs he doesn’t know; he claims that he doesn’t do cocaine, but then we meet his cocaine dealer (who notes that he’s a “mensch”—is the dealer Jewish too?). . . . We also know that Ezra has . . . hired prostitutes. Ezra is a lying, degenerate, drug-doing Jew.

In this movie, only Black people and never Jewish people face [discrimination and bigotry]. What do Jews face instead? Connections. Jewish connections. Ezra has a family friend: Rick Greenwald. Rick is a Jew who is connected. He gets other Jews jobs and now he can get one for Amira, [Ezra’s beloved]. But she has too much pride. Unlike the Jews, who have always been privileged, Amira had to work for everything she has!

Read more at Jew in the City

More about: Arts & Culture

Why Hizballah Is Threatening Cyprus

In a speech last Wednesday, Hizballah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah not only declared that “nowhere will be safe” in Israel in the event of an all-out war, but also that his forces would attack the island nation of Cyprus. Hanin Ghaddar, Farzin Nadimi, and David Schenker observe that this is no idle threat, but one the Iran-backed terrorist group has “a range of options” for carrying out. They explain: 

Nasrallah’s threat to Cyprus was not random—the republic has long maintained close ties with Israel, much to Hizballah’s irritation. In recent years, the island has hosted multiple joint air-defense drills and annual special-forces exercises with Israel focused on potential threats from Hizballah and Iran.

Nasrallah’s threat should also be viewed in the context of wartime statements by Iran and its proxies about disrupting vital shipping lanes to Israel through the East Mediterranean.

This scenario should be particularly troubling to Washington given the large allied military presence in Cyprus, which includes a few thousand British troops, more than a hundred U.S. Air Force personnel, and a detachment of U-2 surveillance aircraft from the 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron.

Yoni Ben Menachem suggests there is an additional aspect to Nasrallah’s designs on Cyprus, involving a plan

to neutralize the Israeli air force through two primary actions: a surprise attack with precision missiles and UAVs on Israeli air-force bases and against radar and air-defense facilities, including paralyzing Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nasrallah’s goal is to ground Israeli aircraft to prevent them from conducting missions in Lebanon against mid- and long-range missile launchers. Nasrallah fears that Israel might preempt his planned attack by deploying its air force to Cypriot bases, a scenario the Israeli air force practiced with Cyprus during military exercises over the past year.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Cyprus, Hizballah, U.S. Security