'50 most influential Jews' fuels debate

Facebook behind the Arab Spring? ‘It was fate that married these two and not a Jew,’ says one reader.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg 311 (R) (photo credit: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg 311 (R)
(photo credit: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)
A friend called me on Wednesday night, looking for a copy of The Jerusalem Post’s Shavuot supplement, featuring the “The 50 most influential Jews in the world, 2011.” “People were arguing about your list in shul,” he said. “So I wanted to see who was on it. Not to worry, though, I found it on your website.”
As anticipated, the list triggered a flurry of talkbacks on the Internet and letters to the editor. They are a mixed bag, running the gamut from biting sarcasm to warm praise.
The choice of Mark Zuckerberg as the head of the list, due to the role his social network site, Facebook, played in facilitating the Arab Spring uprisings, was met by a range of responses.
“By the logic used here, Jews are guilty of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki because Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity,” wrote Arthur Rosen from Canada. “Arab Spring and the advent of the Facebook application are two separate occurrences. It was fate that married these two and not a Jew. Did Zuckerberg contemplate these events before filing for a patent for Facebook?
“This spin doctor tries to paint a scurrilous picture for conspiracy theorists to abstractly link Jews wholesale to the mess that is Islam. The power-providers for Arab Spring are Muslim rulers who let their flocks languish in the doldrums too long.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Quentin Holt wrote from New Zealand: “A voice of sanity at last. At least Zuckerberg made an attempt to point out the obvious.
“The Arab Spring really started with Tunisia. I’d mentioned the domino effect several months ago in relation to al Qaida, something I think Mr. bin Laden was also counting on. The thing about dominoes is they can fall either way. It’s basically a matter of who tips the first domino in the direction they want it to go.”
And “Aubri” added: “Thanks for pointing out the white elephant in the room. I try to do my part to remind all the Muslims and Arabs I come across that bash Jews, Israel etc. and praise the coming new Middle East that they have Jews to thank for it, but oh well!
“You should add Noy Alooshe, the Zenga Zenga guy, to the list, too. Funny how Egyptians and Libyans etc. were all loving it until they found out an Israeli was behind it.”
“James” wrote from the US: “Zuckerberg the hypocrite takes credit when it benefits him and refuses to acknowledge complicity in this mess when it doesn’t suit him. Meanwhile, he lives his rich secular life without a second thought to the effects his actions have had on his people, and his true country. You should be ashamed of yourself Mark Zuckerberg! At least be man enough to admit your part in the so-called Arab Spring; Narcissist!”
“Rebecca” was very pleased with the list.
“It was illuminating in many respects and we Jews need some encouragement at times as although we may be a spirited people, we need all the support we can get in this upside [down] world of today,” she said.
But “AO” thought just the opposite: “There are WAY more influential Jews that have been left off the list... Michael Bloomberg? Lloyd Blankfein? Joseph Lieberman? Dominique Strauss Kahn (until recently)? Jerry Seinfeld? Rahm Emanuel? Alan Greenspan? Countless financiers and CEOs, economists, scientists, philanthropists, Hollywood... Come on, this list is very poorly compiled.”
“Mylan” was not happy with Yuli Edelstein being so high on the list, not to mention that he was our primary interview.
“How much did Yuli Edelstein pay? What a joke! All credibility was lost with his inclusion at all, and at number 10?... He has successfully overseen an unprecedented deterioration in Israel’s international image.”
“BWM” from Los Angeles wrote that the list should have included the Post’s own Caroline B. Glick.
“To the English-speaking Jews of the world, Caroline Glick is most influential writer by far. Not mentioning her deeply committed response to the destructive nonsense of the peace hoax is an absurd ‘oversight.’
“‘Peace, peace, peace when there is no peace,’ sayeth the prophet. She courageously ‘talks truth to power’ and has the most well developed sh– detector. When it comes to Israel’s enemies and 5th column, she takes no prisoners. More power to Caroline.”
Akiva Goldberg suggested that Hillel Neuer should have been on the list as well.
“Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, should have made this list. His tireless efforts to revive the true meaning of human rights at the UN and his brilliant defense of Israel on a myriad of platforms are well executed and highly effective. He is clearly selfless in his devotion to justice and I would like to personally wish him even more success in the future.”
“Jose from the USA” declared: “Both Haim Saban and Arnon Milchan are ten times more influential than 75% of this list. Because they are behind-the-scenes players, it means that they are usually left off of these kinds of lists... and are probably glad that they are.”
“Dima” from the US said the list was “a bit too focused on Israel and not enough on influential Jews in Europe and the US. The IDF HR person got a spot but where is Lloyd Blankenfein? How about Thomas Friedman? How about even more recently newsworthy gentlemen like Strauss-Kahn or Anthony Weiner?”
“Nehemia” noted: “What hype! You’d think the world was made of politics. The Jerusalem Post in its immense wisdom left out from the list artists, scientists, engineers, environmentalists, physicians, you name it.
“Given that politicians have such renowned ethics, morals, loyalty and so on, who is surprised we are in for a tough future. I think I am from the majority that takes the huge majority of my lessons from sources that are not politicians.”
“David” in the US said that US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “is not Jewish, which is lucky because he will one day be a very unpopular man.”
But Rabbi Shalom Bronstein of Jerusalem begged to differ.
“You state that [Bernanke] ‘reportedly’ helped roll Torah scrolls in his local synagogue when growing up in Dillon, South Carolina,” Bronstein wrote. “Use of ‘reportedly’ is unnecessary. I was the student rabbi at Dillon’s Beth Shalom Synagogue for the High Holy Days in 1966. Ben indeed helped me roll the Torah scrolls to the correct place for both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and there were other ways he assisted me at services.”