(JTA) — Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst whose leak of the classified “Pentagon Papers” exposed American deceit about the Vietnam War, led to a landmark Supreme Court on press freedoms and inspired a White House backlash that cascaded into the Watergate scandal, died Friday at age 92.
Ellsberg had announced in March that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Although raised by parents of Ashkenazi descent and attacked as a Jewish traitor by President Richard Nixon, Ellsberg was raised and practiced as a Christian Scientist.
“I think everyone assumed he was Jewish, and Nixon certainly did,” said filmmaker Rick Goldsmith, in an interview with J. The Jewish News of Northern California, about his 2010 documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.”
Ellsberg, who was born in Chicago in 1931 to Jewish parents with a passion for Christian Science, “shifted from avowed hawk to antiwar activist in part due to the influence of his girlfriend (and later, wife) Patricia, the daughter of Jewish toy magnate Louis Marx,” according to the California Jewish newspaper.
The Harvard-educated ex-Marine was one of three dozen Rand Corporation analysts who helped prepare a report expressing official government doubts about a war that would claim the lives of some 58,000 American and countless Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. Hoping to hasten the end of the war, he eventually leaked thousands of pages to The New York Times, which began publishing excerpts in 1971.
The Nixon White House challenged their publication on national security grounds, leading to a Supreme Court decision that June that favored the Times and the Washington Post and allowed their publication of the documents to continue.
An enraged Nixon set up a secretive unit, known as the Plumbers, to ruin Ellsberg’s reputation and plug other leaks. “I don’t care how you do it,” Nixon told his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, according to a White House recording made in June 1971. “You can’t let the Jew steal that stuff and get away with it. You understand? People don’t trust these Eastern establishment people. [Ellsberg is] Harvard. He’s a Jew. You know, and he’s an arrogant intellectual.” Ellsberg was also one of several people that Nixon was alleged to have called “Jew boy” on explosive recordings that captured headlines in 1974.
The Plumbers’ burglary of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office was followed by a series of break-ins at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex in Washington. The revelations about the burglaries and the White House’s role in trying to cover them up led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
Facing theft, conspiracy and espionage charges, Ellsberg fully expected to go to jail. But a U.S. district judge declared a mistrial in 1973, citing governmental misconduct.
Stanley Sheinbaum, the liberal Jewish activist who died in 2016, raised nearly $1 million for the successful defense of Ellsberg.
In 2008, Ellsberg told a journalist that his parents considered the family Jewish, “but not in religion.”
“I was a Jew and I am a Jew,” he said. “By [Nixon’s] definition, I’m 100 percent a Jew, as I would be under Hitler’s.”
Ellsberg’s leak was one of the factors that turned public opinion against the war in Vietnam, and he remained an advocate for whistleblowers throughout his life. Earlier this week, in an interview with Politico that turned out to be his last, Ellsberg urged other whistleblowers to remain vigilant despite his and their skepticism that their efforts would effect change.
“[W]hen everything is at stake, can it be worth even a small chance of having a small effect?” said Ellsberg. “And the answer is: Of course. Of course, it can be worth that. You can even say it’s obligatory.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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