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January 09, 2013

Video: Deeply Offensive And Bigoted Shas Campaign Ad Draws Widespread Criticism

Shas anti-Russian campaign video still 1-9-2013The Sefardi haredi Shas political party continued its race-baiting, bigoted and divisive election campaign ads by debuting a new television commercial meant as an attack against Russian immigrants to Israel – and against the Russian-led Yisrael Beiteinu political party that has paired with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party to run a joint list in the upcoming Israel national elections.

 

Video: Deeply Offensive And Bigoted Shas Campaign Ad Draws Widespread Criticism
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

The Sefardi haredi Shas political party continued its race-baiting, bigoted and divisive election campaign ads by debuting a new television commercial meant as an attack against Russian immigrants to Israel – and against the Russian-led Yisrael Beiteinu political party that has paired with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party to run a joint list in the upcoming Israel national elections.

In the ad, a tall blonde woman named Marina – a common Russian name – speaks a heavily Russian accented Hebrew punctuated with Russian phrases.

She dials “* conversion” on a fax machine while standing under a huppah, wedding canopy, with her fiancé.

“Wait, you’re not Jewish?” her surprised Sephardi-looking soon-to-be-husband asks in surprise, as a reply to Marina’s fax – her conversion certificate – comes in.

“Now I am,” Marina happily says.

Then the tall blonde bride tries to kiss her husband, who recoils from her in disgust.

The faxed conversion certificate is meant to suggest a conversion done by the government’s Orthodox-run conversion authority, which was set up to deal with the thousands of halakhicly non-Jewish Russians – most the children and grandchildren of Jews – who immigrated to Israel when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Rabbi Seth Farber heads ITIM, which tries to help secular Israelis navigate through the byzantine maze of the haredi-controled Rabbinate’s bureaucracy – much of it run by Shas-affiliated apparatchiks.

Farber, who is a Modern Orthodox Jew raised in America, sharply criticized Shas accused it of hypocrisy.

“The [Sefardi] Chief Rabbi of Israel [Shlomo Amar], who is a signatory to every conversion certificate in the state of Israel, is allowing the party with which he identifies to belittle people who passed the state conversion system and people who are currently stuck in that system due to its intolerable bureaucracy,” Farber told the Jerusalem Post, noting that Shas’ founder and spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef had also approved all state conversions.

“This ad campaign is a slap in the face for immigrants from the former Soviet Union…the Torah mentions 36 times the prohibition of denigrating converts,” Farber told the Jerusalem Post, calling on Yosef to ban the Shas’ ad.

The ad was also criticized by politicians from across most of the political spectrum.

Less than two weeks ago, Shas pulled a racist anti-African refugee video ad from its campaign website.

Comments

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a horrible disgusting shame. hope they end up with 0 seats.

Politics as usual!

so is she single? :)

Yeah, anybody thinking of doing a video of exactly how HaRav HaGaon HaMeor HaGadol Leib Tropper of EJF would "handle" Marina's "conversion?" Not sure you could disseminate such a video on a site accessible to minors....

In some passed comments, I have made comparisons between the Weimar political system and Israel's. You can see the results of the November 1932 German Reichstag elections here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_November_1932

and information on the upcoming Israeli Knesset elections here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_legislative_election,_2013#Participating_parties

Note the large number of political parties in each case.

Both systems employ(ed) a proportional representation system and both systems never (have never) produced a majority government in their respective legislatures. In 1932, the old line parties couldn't even put together a coalition government after each of the two Reichstag elections held that year in Germany. In the end President Hindenburg asked Hitler to form a coalition government, ushering in the Third Reich.

In 2013, Israel's knesset will once again have lots of political parties represented and the religious parties will probably hold the balance of power (mean more spoils for the Haredi). More Russian Jews or their children will look for opportunities abroad. Who can blame them?

i guess discrimination is only wrong when its against sephardim.

ah-pee-chorus, hit the nail on the head as usual.

Sefardim have never protested against Syrian sefardi nazi like policies.

I thought the video was funny

One could do a like video on certain rabbis with their 'smechas'

In the engineering field there was a cartoon that went like this

"yesterday I couldn't spell ingener
now todai i are one"

The actress speaks a wonderful Hebrew!

It's like US politics a century ago - all the filters are off. Real bare-knuckle combat. The place is the size of New Jersey with the population of New York City [if that] and they've got enough parties, alliances, sects, cults and other nonsense for a country the size of the US. Absurd.

What about tznius?

It's a wonderful ad that has opened Israelis minds and the national dialogue to an issue that was burning in the subconscious. Everyone had a reaction; it brought out an expression that most people didn't know was so passionate, whether it be to discomfort with Eastern Europeans, immigrants, converts Gentiles or discomfort with the discomfort that most Israelis have. The producers of the ad knew what they were getting into, that people would either love it or hate it (or, more specifically, no one would be indifferent to it). It is also the most clever campain ad in this entire election circus.

Incredibly funny add.
But you have to be in it, to really get the cultural nuances.

I love it. Great Video and even greater point!

Shas produced a video that includes a woman in a miniskirt?

I think the ad is meant to suggest that one party in particular (Yisrael Beteinu, currently united with the Likud for the upcoming elesction) is in favor of creating a situation in the future where blatantly non-Jewish immigrants are able to get quickie conversions.

About this they are probably correct. (Even if the video stereotypes hot blonde Russians).

Of course, people who go by the "Nationalist" interpretation of "Who Is a Jew," rather than the religious interpretation, don't like to have this pointed out to them. For them it's more important to increase the number of "Jews" in Israel, regardless of annoying side issues such as Torah and Judaism.

Dovid,read the Torah carefully and you'll be amazed to find Jewishness was patrilinear in Moshe rabbenu's times and also afterwards.It became matrilinear only when rabbis decided to change things in the 2nd century of the Xtian era;past that,Moshe's wife Zipporah was not only a gentile but black too!I guess today's "gedolim" would put Moshe in kerem for suc an averah.After all,who's Moshe rabbenu or even HKBH to argue with rabbis?

Dovid- There is no magical transformation that happens when you convert. You may have changed religions but you are the same person, same body, same mind as you were the day before you take your plunge in the mikveh. To have the groom recoil from his bride like that goes far beyond the issue of whether conversions are too lenient-- it suggests that there is something fundamentally disgusting about non-Jews (while also casting aspersions on converts, properly converted or otherwise). It may not be race-baiting per se but it's effectively the same thing.

All in all, a truly despicable ad. I sincerely hope they are punished for it at the polls.

FY, I agree with you. Plus it's obvious that the little shnip in the ad is primarily interested in this woman because of her looks, so the fact of a quickie conversion would be unlikely to put him off.

AJS, well of course, a lot of things have changed. (Zipporah being black or white would make no difference,FYI).

But the issue is whether quickie and/or insincere conversions should be permitted for reasons of nationalism.

Dovid- That's not the issue raised by this ad. All the ad does is attack people trying to get conversions. If Shas wanted to have a real conversation about the issue, they would have to first define their standard for what makes a conversion legitimate in the first place, and then determine what the minimum standards are beyond which something becomes illegitimate.

For instance, how long does a conversion process need to be before it ceases to be a "quickie" and it legitimate? What litmus do you use to determine if a conversion is sincere? Are non-Orthodox conversions disqualified automatically by virtue of not being Orthodox, or can they be considered valid by using similar standards, if applied to their respective denomination?

These are real questions that I would be pleased to see happening among the powers-that-be (and laypeople) in Israel and elsewhere. Unfortunately Shas seems totally uninterested in having such a conversation.

FY - "All the ad does is attack people trying to get conversions."

That's not what it does, it attacks people who don't take the conversion process seriously and those who wish to grant quickie conversions (such as Yisrael Beteinu). Unfortunately, it stereotypes Russians in a way that many would find negative, which is not OK.

"If Shas wanted to have a real conversation about the issue, they would have to first define their standard for what makes a conversion legitimate in the first place..." etc

Do you expect them to do that in a TV ad? If so, you have little understanding of advertising. And anyway, don't you think that Shas has a position on conversions? You may not like it, but they certainly have a view.

And what is the position of Shas on conversions?

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