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British comedian David Baddiel takes his ‘Jews Don’t Count’ argument to TV

LONDON (JTA) — David Baddiel, a comedian-turned-activist against antisemitism who calls himself “one of the U.K.’s very few famous Jews,” was holding court in the basement of one of Britain’s best-known TV studios. 

As a reporter headed hurriedly for the exit, Baddiel slouched into his chair, seemingly exhausted by the interview he had just completed about the forthcoming documentary based on his 2021 bestseller, “Jews Don’t Count.”

“I am speaking to many people like the last journalist who had not thought about any of this in their life,” he said.

The “this” Baddiel was referring to was to the idea, outlined in his book, that progressive anti-racists are guilty of hypocrisy towards Jews by not viewing them as worthy of similar protection or championing as other minorities because they are seen as white, privileged and wealthy. 

When the book came out last year, it received rave reviews, and Baddiel has since become seen by some as a “voice for Britain’s Jews.” He often litigates the finer points of contemporary antisemitism as a guest on radio and television, and he has been quick to square off with trolls and critics on Twitter. 

Now, with the premiere of an hour-long documentary also called “Jews Don’t Count” on Britain’s public Channel 4 network, Baddiel gets a primetime slot to make his case to a bigger audience. Featuring Baddiel’s interviews with Jewish stars of pop culture in both Britain and the United States — ranging from comedian Sarah Silverman to novelist Jonathan Safran Foer to actor Stephen Fry — the film argues that “in a culture where all forms of racism are being monitored, called out and held accountable, one form is apparently invisible.”

“With the intensification of identity politics and concerns about minorities, and offense and inclusion and representation, all that stuff seemed not to be tracking for Jews,” Baddiel explained to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as the general point of his work. “We seemed to not be part of that conversation. There seemed to be less offense about antisemitism and less inclusion and representation of Jews.”

Baddiel, who shot to fame in the 1990s when he collaborated with fellow comedian Frank Skinner for a BBC sketch show on soccer, is also known as the co-author of “Three Lions,” which has become the de facto anthem for the English national soccer team and has recently enjoyed a revival during England’s tournament runs. He has also appeared on several TV shows and has published several children’s books.

He became a more prominent voice as a campaigner against antisemitism during Jeremy Corbyn’s scandal-plagued tenure as Labour Party leader from 2015 to 2020 — though he is keen to stress that neither the documentary nor his book are about “Jeremy f—ing Corbyn.” His move into documentary making follows his appearance in a well-received BBC documentary, “Confronting Holocaust Denial,” that aired last year.

Baddiel said he cares less about specific arguments under the umbrella of his broader argument. Regarding the “Jewface” debate, for example, over whether or not Jewish actors should play Jewish characters on screen, Baddiel claims he is “not really interested” either way — even though the topic takes up a large portion of his documentary, coming up in conversations with actors such as Silverman, Miriam Margolyes and David Schwimmer.

“What I am interested in is that it is empirically the case that in casting directors’ offices they are saying that ‘this is an autistic role, so we have to get an autistic actor.’ Or that ‘this is a gay role, so we have to get a gay actor,’” he continued. 

“Whether it is right or not is not the point,” he added. “They are not saying that ‘it is a Jewish role, so we have to get a Jewish actor.’” 

David Baddiel, left, speaks with Neil Gaiman in the upcoming Channel 4 documentary “Jews Don’t Count.” (Channel 4)

Perhaps controversially, Baddiel — while recognizing that there is a certain privilege in being able to “pass” as white — has argued that being white is more about being “protected because you are a member of the majority culture” than it is about skin color. He says antisemitism is racism, and not about “religious intolerance.”

In the documentary, Schwimmer says, “I have never felt white.” 

“I am highly aware that I pass as white and I enjoy a lot of the privileges of being a straight, white, man, able bodied, I get it, I understand, and I am very aware of my privilege,” Schwimmer says before mentioning the murder of two Jewish civil rights activists by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964. “I never felt white, because for me, white means safe.” 

Schwimmer, who recently spoke at the Anti-Defamation League’s conference in New York City, goes on to say that while “Friends,” the sitcom he starred in, has been criticized for its lack of diversity, it did include a minority presence. There were multiple Jews, in the form of Schwimmer’s Ross Geller character and his sister Monica, along with Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel Green.

“You know what would happen if you said that,” Baddiel says in response. “People would get aggressive about it.” 

Schwimmer responds: “You’re right, people would just be like: ‘not a real minority.’”

Baddiel is hardly speaking for all British Jews. One case in his book and documentary involves the fact that British Jews are not offered “Jew” as an option on the census when asked to select their ethnicity. (The same issue has been debated in the United States, where white respondents were asked in the 2020 census to write in their racial “origins.”)

“It is othering and alienating” that Jews do not have a distinct option box, Baddiel said.

But the view that Jews should not have an ethnicity option has historically and continues to be the position of the main representative body for British Jews, the Board of Deputies, as well as the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, a think tank that studies the demographics of British and European Jews. 

The Office for National Statistics, which administers the census, investigated the possibility of adding a Jewish ethnicity option ahead of the 2021 census in England and Wales. The ONS consulted with the Jewish groups and, in cooperation with polling firm Kantar, concluded that Jews in Britain viewed it “highly unacceptable” given historical concerns about discrimination and “the racialisation of religious groups.” 

The ONS and Kantar found that most Jews “did not identify as an ethnicity” and that adding an ethnic option would be counterproductive, as “its inclusion may cause participants to question whether they wanted to complete the census.” 

Baddiel questioned the conclusion, arguing that the most recent research was “a long time ago” and that such views were “massively out-of-date notions of what representation and inclusion looks like.” He said he had “certainly” felt demand for a Jewish option “from the people who speak to me.” 

Baddiel’s book garnered mostly positive reviews, but Josh Glancy, a British-Jewish journalist, wrote in the Jewish Chronicle that he Baddiel’s ideas implied “emphasising and amplifying every aspect of Jewish victimhood” to a point that would require “a level of self-imposed martyrdom that simply doesn’t align with most contemporary Jewish lives.” 

Stephen Bush — a prominent Black and Jewish journalist who conducted a landmark racial inclusivity report for the Board of Deputies last year, and who is interviewed for a few seconds in the documentary — argued in The Times that Baddiel was “so concerned with asserting his own lack of privilege that he forgets his obligations to others: not least to talk and to listen to them.” 

Baddiel’s idea that “progressives turn a blind eye to and dabble in just one form of racism, and that the experiences that he grapples with would not occur if he were black, Asian, or from another ethnic minority” would “struggle to survive a conversation with more than three people from any other minority,” Bush argued.

Rachel Riley, a British game show host, faced antisemitic abuse online after criticizing Jeremy Corbyn, the U.K.’s former embattled Labour Party leader. (Channel 4)

Baddiel said he is “sort of not that interested” in people’s responses, adding, “Glancy is wrong. He doesn’t understand the book.”

In response to Bush, Baddiel said: “That is not something that most minorities are asked to do. I think that most minorities, particularly now, when they present testimony of their lived experience of racism, it would feel racist to say to most of them, ‘why should I listen to this, because you don’t seem to talk about any other minorities.’

“That’s a ‘Jew’s Don’t Count’ phenomenon, what you are talking about,” he continued, “that it is incumbent upon Jews to have to make more space.” 

Among the portions of the documentary that have attracted the most interest in Britain is an apology that Baddiel offers to Jason Lee, a former professional soccer player whom Baddiel mocked in blackface for a sketch in the 1990s. Many feel that Lee’s career was negatively affected by Baddiel’s sketch, even though he pushed back on that idea in a recent interview with the Guardian. Baddiel has accepted that his portrayal of Lee was racist. 

Lee, who has since gone on to campaign against racism in soccer, was also interviewed in The Times, opening up about how he had felt “violated on so many levels” by Baddiel’s sketch. 

For his fellow Jews, Baddiel is less conciliatory. He claimed to not be aware of criticism from within the Jewish community over his theses. “Literally no one” he said had come to him with any concerns, he said. He often feels “whatever the Jewish equivalent of the Bat Signal is” and recalled how a senior Labour Party politician “came up to me yesterday and said: How does it feel to be the person saving the Jews?” 

At one point during his JTA interview, Baddiel interrupted a question about why he had not chosen to speak to any visibly Orthodox Jews — despite their presence in the background of several shots in the documentary — by repeatedly asking: “What’s your problem? What’s your problem?” 

“I am not really interested in understanding Jews,” he said. “I am interested in the ways that our present way of seeing racism fails Jews.” 

The post British comedian David Baddiel takes his ‘Jews Don’t Count’ argument to TV appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Coming Soon: 5 New Online Slots from Award-Winning Providers

Meta: Here are some of the world’s best new online slot machines that are coming soon to several fully licensed & regulated online casinos.

As the festive season fast approaches, there are lots of new online slot machines to look forward to from various market-leading, multi-award-winning online casino game development studios and software providers.

If you live in Canada and want to be one of the first online casino players to try out some of these hotly anticipated new online slots, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive straight in to reveal the names of several eagerly awaited new slots.

Top new online slots coming soon

Instead of listing all 100+ new online slots that are expected to arrive at some point over the coming weeks, here are just a handful of the most talked-about new slots that will soon be arriving at various fully licensed and regulated iGaming sites like the official ComeOn online casino.

You will be able to launch these new slots instantly in your web browser, and you will be able to play them in the real money mode and free play practice mode. However, you must be at least 19 if you wish to play them for real money.

Without further ado, the top 5 new online slots to keep an eye out for over the coming weeks are the following:

  1. Galactic Racers Dream Drop progressive jackpot online slot by Relax Gaming
  2. Hoop Kings online slot by Booming Games
  3. Breaking Bad: Cash Collect & Link online slot by Playtech
  4. Book of Yuletide online slot by Quickspin
  5. John Hunter Nell ’Antica Roma online slot by Pragmatic Play

There are no official launch dates available for any of these new slots. However, many of these games are likely to have already arrived by the time you are reading these words.

Honourable mentions

Some of the other upcoming new online slot machines to keep an eye out for in November and December 2023 are Gargantoonz, Sherwood Gold, Viking Runecraft 100 and Mega Don: Feeding Frenzy from Play’n GO, Finn and the Candy Spin, Elk Hunter and Gem Crush from NetEnt, and Jester’s Riches from Booming Games.

Others include Gold Hit: O’Reilly’s Charms, Hold Hit & Link JP Bacon & Co., Hercules Rules, Silent Samurai: Mega Cash Collect, and Lunar Link: Sky King, which are all from Playtech.

What are the latest slots I can play today?

If you can’t wait for any of these new slots to arrive and want to try out some of the latest online slots that are available to play today, then you may like to try Gold Trio: Sinbad’s Riches online slot by Ash Gaming (a Playtech subsidiary company), Megaways Bushido Princess online slot by Relax Gaming, and Big Bad Wolf: Pigs of Steel online slot by Quickspin.

Other suggestions include Area Cash Thor by Area Vegas and Games Global, Megaways: Duel of the Dead by Relax Gaming, Nile Fortune by Pragmatic Play, Win-O-RamaXL Extended by Relax Gaming, Juiced: Duomax online by Yggdrasil Gaming, and Candy Paradise by Just for the Win Studios and Games Global, to name just a few.

Final note

When playing online slots or any other casino games in the real money mode, remember to stay within your budget, take regular breaks, never chase your losses, and, where possible, take advantage of the ‘safer gambling tools’ for a safer and more enjoyable time.

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Local News

Jewish community holds solidarity rally November 25

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg held a rally in support of Israel on Saturday evening, November 25.

A number of speakers addressed the crowd of 800, including Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun-Herzlia Congregation; Members of Parliament Ben Carr & Marty Morantz; Yolanda Papini-Pollock of Winnipeg Friends of Israel; Paula McPherson, former Brock Corydon teacher; and Gustavo Zentner, President of the Jewish Federation.

Ben Carr

Click here to watch Ben Carr’s remarks:

Marty Morantz

Click here to watch a video of Marty Morantz’s remarks:

Gustavo Zentner

Click here to watch a video of Gustavo Zentner’s remarks:

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What is RTP and How To Find a High RTP Casino

When it comes to online gambling, one term that often comes up is “RTP,” which stands for Return to Player. RTP is a critical concept for both seasoned gamblers and newcomers alike, as it can significantly influence your chances of winning and enjoying a positive gaming experience.

Understanding RTP

Return to Player (RTP) is a percentage that represents the expected payout a casino game offers over an extended period. It’s a statistical measure that indicates how much of the money wagered on a game will be returned to players in the form of winnings. In other words, the higher the RTP, the better your chances of winning in the long run.

For example, if a slot machine has an RTP of 96%, it means that, over time, it will pay out 96% of the total bets made on it, and the casino will keep the remaining 4% as profit. It’s important to note that RTP is a long-term average, and individual players can experience wins and losses that deviate significantly from this percentage in the short term.

Why does RTP Matter?

Understanding the importance of RTP is crucial for any gambler. Here are some key reasons why RTP matters:

1. Player’s Advantage: A high RTP indicates that you have a better chance of winning back your wagered money over time. It provides a player with an edge in the long run, making it a crucial factor when selecting a game or casino.

2. Fairness: RTP is a way to ensure fairness and transparency in the gambling industry. It allows players to gauge the odds and make informed decisions, helping to maintain trust in the gaming community.

3. Game Selection: By understanding RTP, you can make more educated choices when it comes to choosing the games you play. Whether you prefer slots, table games, or video poker, knowing the RTP of different options can lead you to more favorable outcomes.

4. Comparative Analysis: RTP allows you to compare different games and casinos. This can help you find the best options that align with your gambling preferences and goals.

How to Find a High RTP Casino

Now that you grasp the significance of RTP, the next step is to find a high RTP casino. Here are some steps and considerations to help you in your search:

1. Research and Reviews: Begin by conducting thorough research on various online casinos. Read reviews and player testimonials to get an idea of their reputation and reliability. Trustworthy and reputable casinos are more likely to provide fair games with higher RTP.

2. Licensing and Regulation: Look for casinos that are licensed and regulated by reputable authorities, such as the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These regulatory bodies ensure that the casinos adhere to strict standards and offer fair games.

3. Game Selection: Investigate the casino’s game library. A high RTP casino will typically offer a wide range of games with competitive return rates. Check the RTP of individual games to make informed choices.

4. Third-Party Audits: Some casinos undergo third-party audits to verify the fairness of their games. Look for casinos that display certificates from organizations like eCOGRA, iTech Labs, or TST, as these audits ensure that the games are genuinely random and unbiased.

5. Customer Support: Reliable customer support is an indicator of a trustworthy casino. If you encounter any issues or concerns, knowing that you can reach out to a responsive and helpful support team is essential.

6. Promotions and Bonuses: While bonuses can be tempting, don’t solely rely on them when choosing a casino. High RTP casinos may not always have the most extensive bonus offers, but their focus on fair gaming should take precedence.

7. Banking Options: Check the available deposit and withdrawal methods. Reliable casinos offer secure and convenient banking options to ensure that your financial transactions are protected.

8. User Experience: A user-friendly interface and responsive website can make your gaming experience more enjoyable. Choose a casino that provides a smooth and hassle-free platform.

9. Responsible Gaming Measures: High RTP casinos often emphasize responsible gaming. They should have tools and resources in place to help players manage their gambling habits and promote a safe and enjoyable environment.

10. Progressive Jackpots: Some high RTP casinos offer games with progressive jackpots, which can be lucrative for players. These jackpots continually grow until someone hits the winning combination, often providing substantial payouts.

In conclusion, RTP is a fundamental concept in the world of online gambling. It directly impacts your chances of winning and the overall fairness of the games you play. Look for casinos offering the best returns but also focus on reliability and fairness. By following these steps, you can enhance your online gambling experience and increase your odds of winning over the long term. Remember that while RTP is a significant factor, it’s not the only factor to consider.

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