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Berlin film festival bars far-right party criticized by Jews from opening event


BERLIN (JTA) – A major German international film festival has turned the spotlight on the country’s biggest far-right political party, saying they are not wanted at the festival’s upcoming gala launch.

The Berlinale festival announced Thursday that it had disinvited five politicians from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party from the opening event. The 10-day film festival, one of the largest such events worldwide, begins Feb. 15.

The anti-foreigner, anti-European Union party has come under renewed scrutiny amid recent revelations about a secret meeting last November where prominent neo-Nazis, AfD representatives and a handful of mainstream conservative politicians discussed a proposal to deport foreigners who commit crimes, including those who had become German citizens.

For many Germans, the meeting — held at a lakeside villa — conjured memories of the Wannsee Conference, at which the Nazis plotted the “final solution,” which involved murdering Europe’s Jews. The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, said it showed “what a great danger the AfD and its supporters pose to our free, democratic society and our peaceful coexistence.”

In a press statement, the Berlinale’s directors noted there had been “an intense discussion” in the public forum and within the festival team leading up to their decision.

“Especially in light of the revelations that have been made in recent weeks about explicitly anti-democratic positions and individual politicians of the AfD, it is important for us — as the Berlinale and as a team — to take an unequivocal stand in favor of an open democracy,” the Berlinale’s directors, Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, said in a statement explaining their decision. “We have therefore today written to all previously invited AfD politicians and informed them that they are not welcome at the Berlinale.”

The festival management’s decision reportedly came after a petition signed by a variety of people in the film industry called on them to keep AfD politicians off the red carpet. The petition is no longer online.

AfD politician Kristin Brinker, a member of the Berlin House of Representatives, told the Berlin Morgenpost newspaper that she was “astonished” to have been invited and then disinvited.

She said it was “tantamount to disinviting the entire AfD and we have been completely excluded from one of the most important cultural events in this city, if not this country.”

In their statement, the Berlinale said the debate about how to respond to the far right “must be conducted across society as a whole and together with all democratic parties.”

Nicola Galliner, founder and longtime director of the Jewish Film Festival Berlin-Brandenburg, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that she supported the Berlinale’s decision.

“The Berlinale is a political festival,” she said. “They caved in to pressure from the outside, but I think it’s quite right, what they are doing.”

The exclusion “sets an example, to say we do not approve of their party politics,” said Galliner, who had heard about the petition but not read it.

This year’s Berlinale also drew criticism after news emerged that it had turned down German director R.P. Kahl’s feature film about the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials of SS members in 1963 and 1964, based on the play The Investigation by Peter Weiss, who observed the trials.

The reported reason for the rejection was that there were already films about the Holocaust in the program.

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Eden Golan to represent Israel in Eurovision 2024 amid calls for Israel’s ban from song competition

(JTA) — Empty chairs representing the Israeli hostages held in Gaza lit up the stage of Israel’s Rising Star song competition show Tuesday night as 20-year-old Eden Golan, wearing a yellow ribbon pin, sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” — an emotional grand finale for the country’s auditions to the Eurovision Song Contest, which were postponed by several months due to the war.

Golan beat out three other finalists to win the Israeli competition this week, guaranteeing her a slot at the international competition in Malmö, Sweden, in May.

There, she’ll compete against at least one other Israeli, Tali Golergant, who will represent Luxembourg in the tiny country’s first Eurovision outing in 31 years. Golergant was born in Israel but raised in Luxembourg.

Golan’s selection comes amid mounting calls to ban Israel from the competition over its war in Gaza grow stronger.

The first call came in December, from Iceland’s Association of Composers and Lyricists. “We all have a duty to take a stand against war and murders of civilians as innocent children,” it said in a statement posted to Facebook. “We always have a choice not to attach our name to such whether we are individuals or institutions of the state.”

Since then, a petition in Iceland has collected around 10,000 signatures calling for Israel’s disqualification from the competition. If the country is allowed to compete, the terms say, Iceland will boycott the event. Iceland will determine its participation after its own national competition in March, local newspapers report.

Petitions calling for Israel’s exclusion from Eurovision have since continued, coming from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. (Swedish singer Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 with the song “Tattoo.”)

There is precedent for excluding a country from competition because of current events. In past years, Russia and Belarus have been banned over their governments’ human rights violations and suppression of the free press.

The European Broadcasting Union, which runs Eurovision, said in a statement that it is aligned with other international federations “that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time,” including in sports.

“Comparisons between wars and conflicts are complex and difficult and, as a non-political media organization, not ours to make,” Noel Curran, the organization’s director general, said in the statement.

“We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East,” he said, but he added that Eurovision is “not a contest between governments.”

As countries select their contestants, the Eurovision website adds information about each one. The link to further information about Golan, which can be viewed only in Europe, includes a statement discouraging harassment that does not appear on other artists’ video pages.

Eden Golan (left) and Valerie Hamaty (right) perform “Let it Be” on Israel’s “Rising Star” in Jan. 2024. (Screenshot via Image by

“We are #UnitedByMusic,” the statement says. “The Eurovision Song Contest celebrates diversity through music. Please keep your comments respectful. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, body-shaming or any other derogatory or hostile language. Offensive users will be blocked and reported.”

Eden Golan was born in Israel and moved to Russia when she was 6 years old, returning to Israel with her family in 2022 at the start of the most recent Russia-Ukraine war. In 2015, she participated in the Russian selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Golan’s grand finale was not the only song dedicated to the hostages Tuesday night. Noa Kirel, Israel’s 2023 delegate to Eurovision, who was not among this year’s finalists, performed Ofra Haza’s 1983 Eurovision entry “Chai” and wore a yellow corset with the Hebrew word for “life” embroidered in glittery letters.

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The post Eden Golan to represent Israel in Eurovision 2024 amid calls for Israel’s ban from song competition appeared first on The Forward.

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Australian Jews on high alert after public list of ‘Zionists’ fuels harassment


(JTA) — Australian police are investigating threats against a 5-year-old Jewish child amid an uproar over the publication online of a list of hundred of Jewish creatives’ personal information by pro-Palestinian activists.

Hundreds of Jewish academics and creatives who joined a private WhatsApp group last year had their personal information shared publicly by prominent pro-Palestinian activists this week.

At least one family has gone into hiding amid ensuing harassment, Josh Burns, a Jewish Australian lawmaker, said during a radio interview on Friday morning, prompting shock from the interviewer.

“They were completely shattered by this whole experience, where a sort of lynch mob of people were attacking them,” Burns said. “We’re not talking about people who are in any way connected to the conflict in the Middle East. We’re talking about ordinary Australian citizens who happen to be Jewish.”

Defenders of the list and its release have said that some people on it have sought to silence pro-Palestinian voices in the months since Hamas attacked Israel, triggering a war in Gaza. The feminist writer Clementine Ford, who shared the list with her 250,000 followers on Instagram, claimed anti-Zionist Jews had leaked the information from the WhatsApp group.

The incident comes amid growing concern among Australia’s Jews about their safety because of the war’s repercussions.

“We are hearing awful stories about Jewish individuals and families being the subject of harassment and vilification and we are aware of instances where Jewish homes and businesses have been targeted and vandalized simply because they haven’t denounced Israel or their people to the standard demanded by some radical nudnik,” Rabbi Dovid Gutnick of East Melbourne told the Herald Sun newspaper this week.

The newspaper reported that some Jews are moving out of heavily Jewish neighborhoods in Melbourne to avoid harassment. In one case, the newspaper said, the target was a couple who are Jewish but have not commented publicly about the war. They received a photograph of their 5-year-old child with the note reading, “We know where you live.”

Alex Ryvchin, co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australia Jewry, said in a statement that the list called to mind those created by the Nazis as they sought to murder the Jews of Europe.

“There is great shock and disbelief that people are once again drawing up lists of Jews,” Ryvchin said. “It has been said to me by numerous community members that they feel relief that their parents or grandparents who survived the Holocaust are not alive to see this.”

The incident follows an announcement by police in the Sydney region that they had determined that protesters said to have shouted “Gas the Jews” at a rally outside the city’s famous Opera House shortly after Oct. 7 had not actually uttered the phrase, which calls to mind the gas chambers of the Holocaust. They were actually saying, “Where’s the Jews,” concluded a report issued last week.

Ryvchin rejected the finding but said that even if it were accurate, it would be distressing.

“Even taking aside the history of the Holocaust and that context, on a plain reading interpretation of the phrase ‘Where’s the Jews’ by an angry mob of that sort, clearly they were looking for Jews, and what would they have done had they found them?” he said. “That’s what we think and that’s what we feel and that’s what needs to be acted against.”

Burns, a liberal politician whose grandmother was a refugee from Nazi Germany, said he, too, had heard widespread concern. He noted that he shared distress about the Palestinians and would support all expressions of pro-Palestinian sentiment that did not infringe on the safety of others.

“If you ask any member of the Jewish community about this doxxing issue, every single member of the Jewish community would respond with how frightening this is, that they have never experienced anything like this, that this social media phenomenon of putting up people’s individual profiles is one of the most frightening and unprecedented experiences of Jewish people in Australia and it shakes them to the core,” he said.

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The post Australian Jews on high alert after public list of ‘Zionists’ fuels harassment appeared first on The Forward.

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Семейные ценности Пушкиных вспомнили на конференции накануне дня памяти поэта


9 февраля 2024 года в Президентской библиотеке состоялась ежегодная конференция-вебинар, посвящённая памяти А. С. Пушкина. Мероприятие было приурочено к 225-летию со дня рождения великого русского поэта, которое будет отмечаться в июне, и проводилось в рамках Года семьи, объявленного Президентом Российской Федерации Владимиром Путиным. В этот же день было подписано бессрочное соглашение о сотрудничестве между Президентской библиотекой и Всероссийским музеем А. С. Пушкина.

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Пятый Северный форум пройдет в Якутске в сентябре


Пятый Северный форум по устойчивому развитию пройдет в сентябре в Якутске. Об этом сообщил исполнительный директор международной организации северных регионов Владимир Васильев.

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Минобороны: три украинских БПЛА уничтожены над Брянской областью


Российские средства противовоздушной обороны (ПВО) перехватили три беспилотника, запущенных с территории Украины. Дроны были уничтожены над Брянской областью, сообщили в Минобороны РФ.

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Три украинских беспилотника перехвачены и уничтожены над Брянской областью

Перехват осуществили дежурные средства противовоздушной обороны.

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Дотком: тысячи солдат ВСУ умрут ради предвыборной кампании Байдена

Зеленского заставят продолжать конфликт до выборов в США.

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Magnitude 5.7 Earthquake Strikes Hawaii; No Major Damage Reported

HONOLULU — A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck the world’s largest active volcano on Friday — Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii — knocking items off shelves and cutting power in a nearby town but not immediately prompting reports of serious damage.

The earthquake, which didn’t cause a tsunami and which the U.S. Geological Survey initially reported as magnitude 6.3, was centered on Mauna Loa’s southern flank at a depth of 37 kilometers, 2 kilometers southwest of Pahala.

“It shook us bad to where it wobbled some knees a little bit,” said Derek Nelson, the manager of the Kona Canoe Club restaurant in the oceanside community of Kona, on the island’s western side. “It shook all the windows in the village.”

There was a power outage affecting about 300 customers in Naalehu that appeared to be related to the earthquake, said Darren Pai, spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric Company.

The earthquake struck after 10 a.m. local time, less than two hours before an unrelated quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 shook Southern California.

Mauna Loa last erupted in late 2022. It’s one of five volcanoes that make up the Big Island, which is the southernmost in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Earthquakes can occur in Hawaii for a variety of reasons, including magma moving under the surface. In Friday’s case, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the likely cause was the weight of the Hawaiian Islands bending and stressing the Earth’s crust and upper mantle.

That’s what caused a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck off Kiholo Bay on the Big Island’s northwest coast in 2006. That temblor damaged roads and buildings and knocked out power as far away as Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, about 322 kilometers to the north.

Helen Janiszewski, an assistant professor in the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Department of Earth Sciences, said the Hawaiian Islands lie on the Pacific oceanic tectonic plate and have some of the world’s biggest volcanoes.

“So, there’s a huge amount of mass of rock associated with the islands and because of that, it’s actually enough to slightly displace the Pacific oceanic plate beneath the islands,” she said. “And that force causes earthquakes sometimes.”

This type of earthquake tends to occur several tens of kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface in the mantle, Janiszewski said. Quakes caused by moving magma tend to hit more shallow depths.

The observatory said Friday’s earthquake didn’t affect either Mauna Loa or a neighboring volcano, Kilauea.

There were no immediate reports of damage to telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea, another nearby volcano that has some of the world’s most advanced observatories for studying the night sky.

Jessica Ferracane, a spokesperson at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said there was no apparent damage to its roads or visitor centers. Earthquakes are not uncommon, she said, but this one was “much more intense” than usual.

The Hawaiian Islands have been built by successive volcanic eruptions over millions of years. The vast majority of earthquakes in Hawaii occur on and around the Big Island. About once every 1.5 years, there is an earthquake in the state that is magnitude 5 or greater, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The Big Island is mostly rural and hosts cattle ranches, coffee farms and resort hotels. But it also has a few small cities, including the county seat of Hilo, population 45,000.

Friday’s earthquake could be felt in Honolulu. Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth was at a cardiologist appointment there and initially thought he was experiencing side effects from a procedure: “All of a sudden I felt like I was getting dizzy.”

He said he immediately got on the phone with his emergency management officials when he realized it was an earthquake, and that he was heading to the Honolulu airport to try to get an earlier flight back.

Grace Tabios, the owner of Will and Grace Filipino Variety Store in Naalehu, said the shaking knocked down her husband, who was working at their coffee farm in Pahala. At the store, jars of mayonnaise and medicine from the Philippines fell off the shelves.

“Some things fell down but didn’t break,” Tabios said.

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True Detective: Night Country Episode 5 Ends With Many Questions for the Finale to Answer

Jodie Foster as Liz Danvers and Finn Bennet as Pete Prior in episode 5 of 'True Detective: Night Country'

Warning: This post contains spoilers for episode 5 of True Detective: Night Country.

With just one episode to go, True Detective: Night Country appears to be careening toward a breakneck finale.

While episode 5—available to stream early on Max beginning Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. ET—answered a litany of questions about what’s really going down in Ennis, the season’s most pressing mysteries remain unsolved. Not to mention that Danvers (Jodie Foster), Navarro (Kali Reis), and Prior (Finn Bennett) are now in a bigger mess than ever.

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What happens in True Detective: Night Country episode 5?

After Danvers learns from Otis Heiss (Klaus Tange) that he sustained his injuries—similar to those of the dead Tsalal scientists—30 years earlier while mapping the underground ice cave system where Annie K (Nivi Pedersen) was later murdered, she demands that he take her to the caves’ entrance. Still in withdrawal, he insists she get him heroin in exchange for his services, but she refuses.

Jodie Foster as Liz Danvers in episode 5 of 'True Detective: Night Country'

Danvers and Navarro try to investigate the caves on their own but find that the entrance—which just so happens to be on Silver Sky mining company property—has been blown shut. We later learn “Night Country” is how locals refer to the underground ice caves and that people used to leave that recurring spiral symbol as a warning at places where “the ice would swallow [you] whole.”

Danvers is called out to Silver Sky under the guise of meeting with owner Kate McKittrick (Dervla Kirwan) about the protests over the mine. But what McKittrick really wants is to reveal that she has video footage of Danvers and Navarro trespassing on mine property at the entrance to the ice caves. Thanks to Prior, Danvers now knows that Tuttle United, the corporation funding Tsalal, also has deals with a banking company that’s a founding partner of Silver Sky—meaning, in Danvers’ words, that “the mine bankrolls Tsalal and then Tsalal pushes out bogus pollution numbers for them.”

Captain Connelly (Christopher Eccleston) insists in no uncertain terms that Danvers accept the explanation that the Tsalal deaths were caused by a “weather event” by revealing that he knows there was no suicide in the William Wheeler murder-suicide case and implying that he will use it against Danvers and Navarro if they don’t drop their investigation.

But McKittrick clearly doesn’t want there to be any loose ends. She secretly meets with Hank (John Hawkes) and not-so-subtly suggests that Hank kill Heiss before he can lead Danvers to the cave where Annie K was killed. We learn that, years earlier, McKittrick bribed Hank to move Annie K’s dead body from the cave to the location where she was found with the promise of money and the position of Ennis Chief of Police. Danvers’ relocation got in the way of his promotion, but McKittrick says things will be different this time around.

John Hawkes as Hank Prior in episode 5 of 'True Detective: Night Country'

Danvers confronts Prior about Hank learning about the Wheeler case—and subsequently telling Connelly about it—from breaking into Prior’s laptop, where Prior had been looking into old files that revealed the truth about Wheeler’s death. She then takes heroin she stole from the evidence room and picks up Heiss from the Lighthouse.

Back at Danvers’ house, Heiss points out the best point of access to the caves and Danvers hands over the heroin. Suddenly, Hank, who has been following Danvers, shows up and a confrontation ensues during which Hank fatally shoots Heiss. Prior also bursts in and as Hank prepares to kill Danvers, Prior shoots his father in the head and kills him.

Navarro shows up and the three formulate a plan to cover up the murders: Prior will clean up the mess and take the bodies to Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw) while Danvers and Navarro go to the ice caves in hopes of solving both Annie K’s murder and the Tsalal case.

Read more: What’s Up With the Ghosts in True Detective: Night Country Episode 4?

What questions does the True Detective: Night Country finale still need to answer?

Kali Reis as Evangeline Navarro in 'True Detective: Night Country'

Heading into the season finale, the three biggest questions that True Detective: Night Country still needs to answer are: Who killed Annie K? Who or what killed the Tsalal scientists? And how are the two cases connected?

Ahead of the premiere, showrunner Issa López told Vanity Fair that “[The character or characters who] committed the deed are right there in front of you through the entire series.”

That means that, unlike in Season 1—where the killer made a singular, brief appearance before the big reveal— Danvers and Navarro have likely been interacting with whoever is responsible throughout the first five episodes.

There are also some more secondary (but nonetheless notable) mysteries that the finale will hopefully address. Where is Raymond Clark? What really happened at William Wheeler’s house? Is Navarro actually cursed? What’s going on with all the ghosts?

Until next week, we’ll just have to keep guessing.