March 23, 2011, - 3:33 pm

Courageous Elizabeth Taylor Helped Israel, Israeli Terror Victims, Entebbe Hostages – Another View

By Debbie Schlussel

Earlier today, I posted an item about actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died today at 78, and how she successfully fought in court to keep the relatives of a Holocaust survivor from getting back their Van Gogh painting plundered from the Nazis.  But reader/attorney Jonathan Grant commented that Taylor auctioned off jewelry to help Israel in one of Israel’s wars.  I have been unable to find anything on that (at one auction to which she and Richard Burton contributed a large amount of money for Israel, others donated jewelry–so pretty close), but I’ve found several other things that cause me to revise how I will remember her.  Sounds like she was pretty courageous most of the time when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. The same goes for Facebook friend Alice Lemos (join me on Facebook), who pointed out some things I’ve looked into, including Taylor’s ban by Muslim countries.  Here are a few things Elizabeth Taylor did, which deserve to be remembered and recognized (all of which, except the last one, are from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a very liberal organization not usually trustworthy, but in this case, it seems accurate):

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton @ Israel’s Western Wall

*  Fought for the release of Soviet Jewry, including Refusenik Ida Nudel, from persecution in the Communist USSR;

* Condemned U.N.  “Zionism is racism” resolution;

*  Visited Israel repeatedly and was close to Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Likud;

*  Sold Israel Bonds and was banned (along with her movies) in most Arab/Muslim countries because of it–she also purchased over $100,000 in Israel Bonds, in the late ’50s when Israel  badly needed the capital;

*  Canceled a trip to Moscow because of the Soviet Union’s anti-Israel stand;

*   Offered herself up as a hostage instead of the Jewish hostages being held in Entebbe.  She did this when she was in Israel raising funds for JNF–Jewish National Fund–which at the time was a great organization, which reclaims land and plants trees.  Now, it has been compromised by pro-Palestinian activity and appeasement.

Gave a lot of money for one of her three favorite major charities, Israel War Victims Fund.  When Taylor auctioned off her jewelry at Christie’s, the money went to her various favorite charities, so maybe this is what Jonathan Grant was referring to.

Because of all of these things, I will adjust my view of Liz Taylor.  Sounds like she mostly tried to do the right thing, though the fighting the family of Holocaust survivors to keep them from their Nazi-plundered Van Gogh is, indeed, a huge black mark.

Thanks Jonathan and Alice for enlightening me! When I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

Elizabeth Taylor, Rest In Peace.

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27 Responses

Debbie, no one is perfect, even good people have their flaws. Yes, what she did was inexcusable but she on the whole she tried to be a good Jew. That’s more than can be said for all of us.

I don’t approve of her keeping the painting but I will not speak ill of the dead. That sin is between her and G-d and only He can judge what importance it had in her life here on earth.

Elizabeth Taylor, RIP.

NormanF on March 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Re: NormanF on March 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Amen.

    JeffE on March 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Well said, Debbie.

Occam's Tool on March 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Liz Taylor dead at 79? My mom will be at that age in 3 yrs.

RIP, Liz.

The Reverend Jacques on March 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Thanks Deb. I’ll revise some of my opinion from my earlier post. She deserves equall and all praise for the work she did in life to Israel and Jew’s. It’s too bad a piece of Art was more than she could give up for the cause though.

RIP Liz, Hollywood lost its true Van Dame, and she will be missed.

wolf2012 on March 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I don’t know the exact circumstances of the painting exchange, but shouldn’t the people who sold her the painting, refund Elizabeth Taylor and return it to the rightful owner?

I would still put some of the blame on her, but not 100% because I would think she bought it without knowing it once belonged to a holocaust victim. It seems it should not have been sold to her in the first place.

Zsuzsi on March 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I’d never heard any of that stuff before. She doesn’t just leave a legacy of lots of marriages.

samurai on March 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Debbie, I think overall, Elizabeth Taylor really backed Israel and was a friend of Jews MOST of the time. The sad excerpt concerning the Van Gogh painting, I think this was more of a private collector fighting to keep her collection intact. The fact that it belong to a Holocaust survivor, might not have nothing to do with it. She felt her father bought the painting “fair and square” and felt there was nothing wrong.

I am speaking from experience in the collectible markets, there are lawsuits pending that I know that sales are being held up because an item belong to a family but somehow it ended up in market suspiciously.

This why most pawn shops work with law enforcement when it comes to high value items because if they accept stolen goods, they will get hammered. At the very least, the item will be confiscated after the pawn shop paid some good amount for it, and nothing to show.

Anyway, I was surprise to read how Elizabeth Taylor help Israel and the Jews. I will just say that plain greed took over the issue of the Van Gogh painting.

Mario on March 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Deb, don’t worry about it, if your wrong, your wrong, we all make mistakes and were all flawed human beings at the end of the day. There have been a few posts where I admit my own error on this website over the one year I’ve been here, and I’ve admit that I made an error. And I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was a bad person afterall, I’ve always notice that she was good, decent person and I’ve never had anything against Ms. Taylor, and yes she made some mistakes in her personal life as well. And I assume Turner Classic Movies will show classic Elizabeth Taylor films either later this week or next week?

“A nation is defined by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on March 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

This is why you’re loved and respected by your fans, Deb. You put the truth before your ego. Not too many people do that nowadays, particularly journalists.

Keep up the great work!

Jonathan Grant on March 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Jonathan,
    Very well said.

    NancyB on March 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Debbie- It is refreshing to have someone admit when they are wrong and reevaluate a position when presented with a different perspective and/or facts. Thank you for restoring my faith. I think we all have some things we are not proud of despite trying to do the right thing, the majority of the time. I hope I have someone defending me in my death, so those few poor choices I made over my 90+ years (that is my goal….90+) don’t become my legacy! Kudos to the DS responders.

Musiccgirl on March 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

“Offered herself up as a hostage instead of the Jewish hostages being held in Entebbe. She did this when she was in Israel raising funds for JNF–Jewish National Fund–which at the time was a great organization, which reclaims land and plants trees. Now, it has been compromised by pro-Palestinian activity and appeasement.”

Amazing!

Stephen Schochet on March 23, 2011 at 6:21 pm

“All men are sinners, and fall short of the glory of God.” May the Lord judge Elizabeth Taylor, and all of us, with mercy. Praise His name!

Mary Mennona on March 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I can guarantee you that both these aspects of Ms. Taylor’s life and personality – her philo-Semitism and that unfortunate matter of the stolen Van Gogh painting – will not be even remotely touched on by the celebrity-brownnosing media. With them, her political activism both began and ended with her latching on to the AIDS cause in the 1980’s and her role in starting AmFAR.

But these yin-yang posts about “La Liz” by Debbie – the noble and ignoble sides – clearly qualify under the “fair and balanced” moniker, even more than the network she has correctly classified as “PAWNN.”

ConcernedPatriot on March 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thank you for this post. I wouldn’t have known any of this without your blog.

Jennifer on March 23, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Jennifer:

    I’ve long known about Liz Taylor’s support of Israel. She was a strong supporter of Israel for so long, I pretty much took it for granted. I have posted links to this article on newspaper blogs and forums tonight as the cable news networks eulogize her. It is past midnight and I have yet to see one mention Elizabeth Taylor’s Zionism; not a one. I have good reason to believe they are deliberately covering it up.

    What I discovered tonight is that you are not alone. Many, many supporters of Israel have no idea that Liz Taylor was an ardent Zionist.

    At the risk of repeating myself, I am very grateful Debbie wrote this 2nd column. Thanks for posting your comments, Jennifer.

    Regards,

    There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

    There is NO Santa Claus on March 24, 2011 at 12:13 am

Deb:

The only thing you were wrong about was accentuating the negative. Liz Taylor was a VERY fickle person and let’s face it! She wasn’t exactly a fine example of a family focused woman.

That being said, I was wondering why you were so harsh on her because Liz Taylor was a fervent Zionist and remained so long after most of Hollywood threw Israel under the bus. She fell in and out of love with several husbands. She gained and dropped weight. She fell off and on the wagon. Yet through it all, the one consistency she had was her support of Israel.

The LIB media is talking all day about her “support of AIDS”. They won’t dare tell us about Liz Taylor’s passionate support of Israel. For that we need people like you. Thank you for writing your follow-up column. This was a Liz Taylor story that needed to be told.

Sincerely,

There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

There is NO Santa Claus on March 23, 2011 at 9:43 pm

All of that’s true – she is one of the greatest actress of the Golden Age of Hollywood. As I said, we won’t see her likes again there.

Taylor really had an incredible and amazing life. Now she is for the ages.

NormanF on March 24, 2011 at 12:21 am

Yes, it was rotten of Elizabeth Taylor to fight in court to keep the family of a Holocaust survivor from getting their painting back. Surely, you, as a lawyer, know how THINGS can bring out the ROTTENNESS in people, pettiness, stubbornness, greed, unreasonableness, a willingness to cut off your nose to spite your face. You must have wanted to throw up sometimes, as you watched a divorcing couple argue over property or relatives contest a will. Good of you to mention Elizabeth Taylor’s pro-Israel activities. She was a courageous, talented, resilient woman. She fought her substance abuse, her overeating, her endless failed marriages. She never let herself just sink into the self-pitying, self-destructive mud. May she rest in peace.

Miranda Rose Smith on March 24, 2011 at 3:19 am

    She did not fight holocaust survivors she fought some RELATIONS from getting a totally unearned tens of millions of dollars windfall and I wonder how solid the case was. The painting was NOT simply stolen it WAS sold in war time conditions. Jews were forced to smuggle out their money in the form of rare stamps – hence Nassau St. the old stamp district in NYC was awash in fabulous philatelic items – dirt cheap. The refugees who were forced to sell these at a fraction of their worth – should these stamps be returned to them or their families? With all the impoverished actual holocaust survivors in Israel itself I’m not in the least concerned with these ‘relatives’ getting absolutely stinking rich.

    dan on June 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Maybe it is because the family property wasn’t confiscated. The article said they sold it although the great granddaughter is now claiming they sold under duress (how do you claim duress?)

D: Actually, that’s how the Nazis confiscated a lot of the art. They forced people to sell their art, and at bargain basement prices. Not all of it was stolen or taken by force. A lot of it was “forced sale,” which is no different. And it’s definitely under duress. DS

dave on March 24, 2011 at 6:34 am

Takes a real man (or woman) to admit when they are wrong. Shows a sign of character. As they say in England (before globalists like Rothschild took it over and turned it into a Muslim extremist nation)…GOOD ON YA!

Bob Porrazzo on March 24, 2011 at 8:50 am

Thank you, Debbie, for acting honorably and for presenting the full picture.
I so appreciate all you do to keep us informed about things that are often missed by other media’s radar–or deliberately ignored.
I also appreciate that you are fearlessly open and honest, even when it’s pretty clear it will probably be to your own hurt.
You take chances & get messy in a world that is increasingly insisting that mankind unquestioningly conform & tow the PC line. And you do this dangerous work of sorting out things under the public microscope.
Thank you again for setting a great example. You’re a fine teacher in so many ways.

Aurora on March 24, 2011 at 11:13 am

Thanks Debbie, I loved Elizabeth in all her movies as a kid. Now as a adult I still do, G*d’s speed Liz peace be with you.

jake49 on March 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Thank you Debbie,even til today my opinion of Liz Taylor had not changed,which was none I neither liked her nor disliked her,but now I like her and admire her courage and love for Israel,whatever her sins were,may she RIP.

Juan on January 29, 2012 at 11:33 am

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