Smurfette scandal was manufactured

After reading “Female Smurf removed from posters in Haredi Orthodox neighborhood in Israel” by Josefin Dolsten on March 28 on the Jewish Standard online, [EDITOR’S NOTE: It also ran in hard copy on page 3 on March 31] I was quite disturbed by what the article said. This article originally was printed in the Haaretz newspaper, a left-wing leaning media outlet in Israel. Something just didn’t seem right. Why would a company promoting a film put a poster in a Haredi Orthodox neighborhood when clearly it is rare that those living in Bene Brak even own a television or computer let alone go to see movies in a movie theater? This just seemed absurd.

So I did a little investigating of my own. My niece, Hadassah Schwarz, who works in the media and research department of the Israel Press office in Jerusalem, was given the following information from Benyahu Yom-Tov, a media consultant for the Drug and Alcohol Authority in Israel. Through his job as a media consultant, he received the press releases from Forum Film about the Smurf movie. Mr. Shem Tov was the person who contacted the Bene Brak City Hall to find out whether there were any complaints about the film’s poster for the Smurf movie.

Basically, as my niece explained the situation, this Smurf matter was a public relations stunt done by Forum Films to promote their movie. It appears that the movie sales from the movie were less than expected in Israel. So they came up with a brilliant plan. Let’s promote the Smurf movie with posters of the female Smurfette front and center and place them in Bene Brak. Their thought was that the Bene Brak population would be so angry about this poster that the free publicity they would receive from this would make others outside of Bene Brak go see the movie.

What Haaretz didn’t mention, and was confirmed by the Bene Brak City Hall, was that there wasn’t a single complaint from the population that lives in Bene Brak. To further the sham, Forum Film removed the poster with the Smurfette and instead used its other poster, with just the three male Smurfs. This caused the media to ride the hate wave and created the headline as you put online: “Female Smurf removed from posters in Haredi Orthodox neighborhood in Israel.”

I thought you would like to get the truth out about this situation. It’s pretty useless to ask Haaretz to retract the article but I would hope that you would at least publish my letter to the editor in the hope that others will read this and learn the truth.

Dr. Elaine T. Yaffe

More women’s voices, please

Oh, if Letty Cottin Pogrebin were a regular contributor to the Standard! The feature about her, “How To Be A Holy Troublemaker” by Lois Goldrich (April 7), barely scratches the surface of her remarkable life and career. She published a memoir, “Deborah, Golda and Me; Being Female and Jewish in America,” in 1991; it remains a genuine inspirational work. Sadly, the Standard lacked enough space to detail Ms. Pogrebin’s firsthand experience, now repeating itself, of what happens when a blossoming women’s movement is confronted with anti-Semitism. Her memoir covers this and other challenges. A must read — especially when the road toward progress gets tough.

In contrast, the Standard now gives weekly space to a June Cleaver throwback. Perhaps the Standard could send Banji Ganchrow on assignment into a much wider world. She’s a gifted writer.

Keep up the good work on introducing more women’s voices into the Standard editorial pages. More. More. More.

Robin Katz
Palisades Park