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Top Ten in Global Antisemitism of the Year - according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center

The Simon Wiesenthal Center held a press conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles to announce their annual Top Ten in Global Antisemitism.

Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Assistant Dean explains the list of their selections in this video interview.

"The Simon Wiesenthal Center puts out an annual Top 10 involving anti-semitism the previous
year. It's not about statistics it's about impact.  And I think we can unfortunately say that once upon a time, we were talking about exceptional situations by individuals primarily or by a Hamas or a Hezbollah or an Iran but now we have to deal with reality.
During covid and probably going forward in which the
various streams of anti-semitism have managed to make their way into the mainstream of our culture of our social settings and of our political discourse.
And not to, of course, we also mention about the disastrous situation on so many campuses. So all this takes place at a time over the last two years where so many of us have been locked down we don't have really a normal life to speak of and yet we see this explosion of anti-semitism."

 The May 2021 conflict between Israel and terrorist Hamas,  played out across cities and on social media in Europe and North America. Hamas’ violent vitriol targeting Jews was exported to Germany, the UK, and across the Atlantic in the US and Canada. While Hamas rockets pummeled Israeli civilian communities, a rabbi was physically attacked outside his synagogue in London. On the same day, a caravan of cars flying Palestinian flags roamed through the city’s largely Jewish Golders Green neighborhood, chanting, “F**k the Jews and rape their daughters” broadcast over a loudspeaker.

Across the US, synagogues and Jews were targeted. In Los Angeles, pro-Hamas thugs jumped out of a caravan of SUVs at a restaurant in the heart of the city, demanding to know who was Jewish, spouting anti-Semitic rants, and violently attacking Jewish customers. A day earlier, during the Shavuot festival, a Hasidic father of six had to run for his life to escape antiSemites pursuing him in vehicles adorned with Palestinian flags. In New York, violence emerged from a pro-Palestinian demonstration. A young man was badly beaten by proPalestinian attackers in broad daylight, sending him to the hospital with a concussion. 

Rabbi Marvin Hier - Simon Wiesenthal Center lists their
Top 10 perpetrators of antisemitism around the globe

Rabbi Marvin Hier - Simon Wiesenthal Center: "Top 10 global anti-semitism list - that is, as every year the Simon Wiesenthal Center puts a list and on this year's list of the top 10 you'll find some unusual names."

In this exclusive video Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of the Museum of Tolerance, lists the Wiesenthal Center's 2021 Top 10 countdown of antisemitism sources:

In Canada, Jews attending pro-Israel rallies in the country’s major cities were cursed, spat upon, and beaten by Pro-Palestinian protesters. Most nations did not acknowledge the wave of anti-Jewish attacks and at the UN it was anti-Israel business as usual. At a special hearing at the General Assembly, the president of the UN Human Rights Council presented his annual report which was obsessed with one nation—not egregious human rights violators, like China or Iran—but Israel. Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, rose to the podium and declared that the “Antisemitic and one-sided report” belonged “in the dustbin of history.” He then ripped apart a copy of the report and left the hall.

Marilyn Bergman, legendary lyricist and longtime ASCAP head, passes at 93

Marilyn Bergman, the Oscar-winning lyricist who teamed with husband Alan Bergman on “The Way We Were,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” and hundreds of other songs, died at her Los Angeles home Saturday. She was 93.

She died of respiratory failure not related to COVID-19, according to a representative, Jason Lee. Her husband, Alan, was at her bedside when she died.

The Bergmans, who married in 1958, were among the most enduring, successful and productive songwriting partnerships, specializing in introspective ballads for film, television and the stage that combined the romance of Tin Pan Alley with the polish of contemporary pop. They worked with some of the world’s top melodists, including Marvin Hamlisch, Cy Coleman and Michel Legrand, and were covered by some of the world’s greatest singers, from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson.

“If one really is serious about wanting to write songs that are original, that really speak to people, you have to feel like you created something that wasn’t there before — which is the ultimate accomplishment, isn’t it?” Marilyn Bergman told The Huffington Post in 2013. “And to make something that wasn’t there before, you have to know what came before you.”

Alan Bergman (before he addressed the audience at the L.A. Jewish Film Festival a few years ago) discussed with JewTube their body of work (e.g., "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life") and Jewish cultural and artistic influences on them. He opined on why so many Jewish-Americans made careers in the arts - writing, music, theater, and film.

Their songs included the sentimental Streisand-Neil Diamond duet “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” Sinatra’s snappy “Nice ’n’ Easy” and Dean Martin’s dreamy “Sleep Warm.” They helped write the uptempo themes to the 1970s sitcoms “Maude” and “Good Times” and "Alice" collaborated on words and music for the 1978 Broadway show “Ballroom.”

But they were best known for their contributions to films, turning out themes sometimes remembered more than the movies themselves. Among the highlights: Stephen Bishop’s “It Might Be You,” from “Tootsie”; Noel Harrison’s “The Windmills of Your Mind,” from “The Thomas Crown Affair”; and, for “Best Friends,” the James Ingram-Patti Austin duet “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”

Alan and Marilyn Bergman share Oscars with
Marvin Hamlisch for "The Way We Were" in 1974
Their peak was “The Way We Were,” from the Streisand-Robert Redford romantic drama of the same name. Set to Hamlisch’s moody, pensive melody, with Streisand’s voice rising throughout, it was the top-selling song of 1974 and an instant standard, proof that well into the rock era the public still embraced an old-fashioned ballad.

Fans would have struggled to identify a picture of the Bergmans, or even recognize their names, but they had no trouble summoning the words to “The Way We Were”:

“Memories, may be beautiful and yet / What’s too painful to remember / We simply choose to forget / So it’s the laughter / We will remember / Whenever we remember / The way we were.”

The Bergmans won three Oscars — for “The Way We Were,” “Windmills of Your Mind” and the soundtrack to Streisand’s “Yentl” — and received 16 nominations, three of them in 1983 alone. They also won two Grammys and four Emmys and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Fellow composer Quincy Jones called news of her death crushing. “You, along with your beloved Alan, were the epitome of Nadia Boulanger’s belief that ‘an artist can never be more or less than they are as a human being,’” he tweeted.

“To those of us who loved the Bergmans’ lyrics, Marilyn takes a bit our our hearts and souls with her today,” tweeted Norman Lear, creator of “Maude” and “Good Times.”

Marilyn Bergman became the first woman elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and later served as the chair and president. She was also the first chair of the National Recorded Sound Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Streisand worked with them throughout her career, recording more than 60 of their songs and dedicating an entire album, “What Matters Most,” to their material. The Bergmans met her when she was 18, a nightclub singer, and soon became close friends.

“I just love their words, I love the sentiment, I love their exploration of love and relationships,” Streisand told The Associated Press in 2011.

On Saturday, she posted a picture of herself with the Bergmans on Twitter, saying they were like family, as well as brilliant lyricists.

“We met over 60 years ago backstage at a little nightclub, and never stopped loving each other and working together,” Streisand wrote. “Their songs are timeless, and so is our love. May she rest in peace.”

Like Streisand, the Bergmans were Jews from lower-middle-class families in Brooklyn. They were born in the same hospital, Alan four years earlier than Marilyn, whose unmarried name was Katz, and they were raised in the same neighborhood and were fans of music and movies since childhood. They both moved to Los Angeles in 1950 — Marilyn had studied English and psychology at New York University — but didn’t meet until a few years later, when they were working for the same composer.

The Bergmans appeared to be free of the boundaries and tensions of many songwriting teams. They likened their chemistry to housework (one washes, one dries) or to baseball (pitching and catching), and were so in tune with each other that they struggled to recall who wrote a given lyric.

“Our partnership as writers or as husband and wife?” Marilyn told The Huffington Post when asked about their relationship. “I think the aspects of both are the same: Respect, trust, all of that is necessary in a writing partnership or a business partnership or in a marriage.”

Besides her husband, Bergman is survived by their daughter, Julie Bergman, and a granddaughter.

Written by Hillel Italie. AP media writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

For more information see Marilyn and Alan Bergman's website.