More Gleanings and Observations

Jews worry too much. That seems to be the point of a recent article in the otherwise sensible Economist. Sure, two German rappers won that country’s highest music award by bragging their torsos are “better defined than an Auschwitz inmate’s” and vowing to “make another Holocaust.” But, says the Economist, the intended targets of this aspirational Holocaust were “unclear” and could “possibly [be] rival hip-hop artists.”

No reason to worry then that Germans were not alone in figuring out “whom.” The rappers’ invitation to another Holocaust was broadcast on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day

There’s more. Pears Institute scholar David Feldman is quoted by the magazine for the proposition that “competitive victimhood” prompts “claims of oppression by Jews, Muslims, and other groups [to] step on each other’s toes.” Anti-Semitic is merely part of a “general wave of chauvinistic sentiment” that has also seen hostility towards Muslims, gays, and Roma rise. The comfort that Jews should take from this is unclear.

In the past, French, German, and other European Jews could look to a short hop across the channel for a safe haven. Now, not so much. Pollsters think there is a good chance that Jeremy Corbyn will be the next prime minister of Great Britain. He once called for Hamas to be removed from the terrorist list (according to the Daily Telegraph) and invited “our friends from Hezbollah . . . and Hamas” to address Parliament. Corbyn did later say that he wished he had not used such “inclusive language,” which has been taken to be an apology. But according to a leading Labour party colleague, Corbyn has yet to deal with a backlog of 70 cases of alleged anti-Semitism by party members.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took over America’s role as a haven for the “wretched refuse” of Central America’s teeming countries. Trump might not want these “tempest-tossed” souls in America, but “To those fleeing prosecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith.” So some 20,000 asylum-seekers walked from America into Canada last year, ten times as many had done so in 2016. And unless the welcome mat is rolled up, that number is headed to 30,000 this year, Haitians being the largest group until recently, when Nigerians with visitors’ visas to America began entering Canada.

All of which prompted Canadian immigration minister Ahmed Hussen to send his officials scurrying to Nigeria to persuade U.S. embassy officials to be more restrained in their issuing of visitors’ visas.

So now there’s a new message from Canada’s immigration service: “There are no guarantees you can stay in Canada.” Trudeau wants Trump, the persecutor of these north-bound migrants, to amend an agreement that allows these cross-border strolls. The president is busy with other matters.

The European Union is not anti-American says Margrethe Vestager, the E.U.’s competition commissioner. The fines levied on Intel, Microsoft and Google, and investigations of Facebook and other U.S. tech companies, represent the European belief that careful policing of companies is appropriate even if it does “constrain business.”

Surely, then, Russia’s Gazprom would face similar penalties because of its dominance of many European gas markets, and the practices it uses to maintain that dominance? Er, no.

After year-long proceedings, to the horror of Poland and others dependent on Gazprom, Ms. Vestager decided that concessions made by Gazprom made it unnecessary to levy financial penalties. “A reasonable outcome,” according to Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy chairman. “Reasonable”-certainly compared with the outcomes of E.U. investigations of American companies, which included not only “concessions” and changes in business practices, but whopping fines.

Clothes proclaims the man, says Shakespeare’s Polonius, and maketh the madame, according to musician David Boskett. So it naturally follows, at least to the powers-that-be at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, that in order to understand an art exhibition of horrific historical events, it is important to write on a blank slate. Which, according to Marion Buchloh-Kollerbohm, the museum’s head of education, requires that the viewer be nude. “I am hoping the experience of leaving their clothes at the door will help them [visitors] leave some part of their identity with it, and experience it with more openness.” Ms. Buchloh-Kollerbohm served as tour guide and remained fully clothed, presumably having left her identity behind at an earlier date. Non-nude visitors not allowed.

Several visitors enjoyed the exhibition, but some complained that the air conditioning was not set to accommodate their unclad circumstance. One visitor told the New York Times, which featured the story on page one of its Arts section, that she was not keen on all the art, but enjoyed the experience. “I’m standing in the sun, naked, staring at the Eiffel Tower. Life is great.”

But not for Anna Coliva, director of Rome’s Galleria Borghese, who mounts exhibitions for the fully clothed. Ms. Coliva is to be tried on charges of defrauding the public and absenteeism, and has been suspended by the ministry of culture without pay.

Based on an anonymous tip, apparently from someone who was disciplined for touting tickets to popular exhibitions, the culture ministry had Ms. Coliva followed for several days and found that she often punched in at work and then went to a gym. She says this was compensation for overtime work. Peers in the museum business point out that Ms. Coliva has raised millions for the museum and that the exhibitions the museum has mounted “have not been equaled by any other institutions in Italy.”

Or by the Paris museum, where it is unlikely that the nudity displayed can match the esthetic standard of Canova’s nude statue of Pauline Bonaparte in Ms. Coliva’s Galleria Borghese.