Friday, April 29, 2016

Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence (Jewish Lives)Dec 21, 2015 by Lee Siegel Hardcover.Yale University Press

Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence (Jewish Lives)Dec 21, 2015 by Lee Siegel Hardcover.Yale University Press

Huh? What? Why'd you wake me up? I was having this wonderful dream about Thelma Todd and Kitty Carlisle and they were...

Oh, a Marx Brothers thread.

There was a "Hebrew" comic stereotype in the early days of vaudeville, just as there were Irish, Italian, "Dutch" (German), black, and others. Groucho did his time as a "Hebrew" with a heavy accent, although he also played Dutch. Weber and Fields and Smith and Dale were probably the most famous Hebrew acts, but there were lots of others.

As immigrants settled in, the heavy stereotypes became less funny in and of themselves. Although Chico kept the Italian accent forever, he did so as part of a larger troupe of comic types. Merely having an accent and being a naive immigrant wasn't as funny to second-generation Americans who grew up speaking English.

Being Jewish remained a selling point in the heart of vaudeville and, later, Broadway, because New York City was as much as one-third Jewish in those days. Yiddish expressions entered show-biz language because everybody used them and the whole audience would understand them. The lines quoted from the Marx Brothers aren't ones they came up with: it was all those Jewish writers of theirs - George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, S. J. Perelman, Arthur Sheekman, Al Boasberg, and on and on. If they ever used a non-Jewish writer, it must have been late in their careers and we all know how that ended.

The problem was that this humor didn't carry over very well when the vaudevillians traveled out of New York City or a few other large eastern cities. It was especially hated in the South and deep Midwest, where anti-Semitic prejudice was rampant. Movies just exacerbated the problem. The heavily Jewish acts never made it out of vaudeville, and the few single stars who tried - Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice - couldn't get a major movie career started. (Brice became a radio star, but mostly because of her Baby Snooks character, not her Jewish adult pose.)

And the movie moguls, every last one of whom were Jewish, were deathly afraid of offending a single person in the audience. They ruthlessly cut out every piece of Jewishness of out their films and their stars. A few lines dropped into the endless babble of the Marx Brothers could go by almost unnoticed in the crowd, but that was it.

Like the Three Stooges, the Marz Brothers  started out as literal stooges, plants in the audience who would heckle the star, Ted Healy, and be brought on stage to be abused by him. (Healy was another one who started out doing blackface but gave it up when that stereotype stopped crowd-pleasing.) There was no need for Healy's stooges to be Jewish or anything else: they were there to be slapped around. Eventually, of course, the Howard brothers and Mr. Fine got sick and tired of Healy, his stinginess, his ego, and everything else about him and went off on their own. But they never saw any reason to change the act, nor would their studio bosses have let them.

It's not clear to me just how much the general American audience understood the pervasive Jewishness of the Hollywood hierarchies. The moguls played down their religion to the point of self-loathing, although in their personal lives they all went to synagogue, got married by rabbis, had their kids Bar Mitvahed, and ate Seders at Passover. Same with the stars. Most of that generation were striving to be assimilated Americans, though, and were more nominally Jewish than fervent believers. It's hard to name any Orthodox, kosher-keeping Jews among the stars. And remember that many of them anglo-ized their names, like John Garfield, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Douglas Fairbanks, and downplayed any ethnicity. 

Zions's Strict Adherence to (Groucho) Marxism
Zion 's policy toward the Palestinians could be summed up by tweak of Groucho's famous credo: 'Anyone who claims to be ready to talk with us proves, by saying so, that he is not worthy to be a negotiating partner.'

Denial, delusion and Jewish settlements are killing the two-state solution.... all I ( that's mean, Stephen Darori now speaking) ... all I can say ... is Hey Ho Go Settlements. Let themmultiply and expand.... and kill the academic Two State Fantasy that no one supports anymore.... and hey this was Groucho Marx's view point as well.

Now we know: the State of Israel has adopted Groucho Marxism as its official policy.
For those with short memories, here is a reminder of the history and main points of the Groucho Marxist philosophy. It originated at the time when country clubs in the United States would not allow Jews to become members. The late Mr. Groucho Marx (one of the greatest Jewish-American humorists) nevertheless received an offer to join one of those anti-Semitic clubs despite the fact that he was Jewish. His (Jewish) answer was: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”

This rule has now become the guiding principle for the Israeli government, which has made no changes to it except the ones dictated by circumstances. The new Israeli version of the Groucho Marxist philosophy is as follows: “We don’t want to talk with anyone who is willing to talk with us.” Or, to put it a bit more bluntly: “Anyone who claims to be ready to talk with us proves, by saying so, that he is not worthy to be a negotiating partner” (and, for that reason, deserves to be thrown in prison, deported, blown up, poisoned or removed from the agenda in any way possible).

At a superficial glance, this policy seems nothing more than an amusing paradox. A deeper look will show that it contains quite a bit of truth. After all, who knows the real quality and nature of the Israeli government better than the Israeli government itself? In the inner recesses of its heart, the government knows very well that the lip service it pays here and there to “its indefatigable quest for peace” is nothing but straw and stubble. So anyone stupid enough to buy its hypocritical chatter about peace cannot be considered a serious partner.

Or, as we said above: Anyone who is willing to talk to me proves that he is too stupid for me to talk with him.

We must admit that adopting Groucho Marxism has already gotten the desired result: the prisons are full of people who are willing to talk with us, but from the moment the king of Jordan announced that he had nothing to talk about with us (regarding the West Bank), he has been the only one we are willing to talk to.

Full disclosure: Everything I wrote above — with only technical changes — is pure journalistic plagiarism. It appeared long ago in Haaretz — or, to be more precise, in Haaretz’s weekend supplement, on Friday, August 26, 1988. That was 26 years ago.

Logic would seemingly dictate that a trick exposed 26 years ago would have lost its power and charm. But Israel’s adherence to Groucho Marxism has only grown deeper, more sophisticated and more efficient, trapping the foolish and naïve in its net again and again. 

Over and over Zion  succeeds in leading both the nation and the world by the nose.And so, thanks only to its enemies who foolishly  and naïvely get trapped this time, everybody has sunk once again into the heated and hackneyed dispute over “who is to blame for the failure of the talks.” Zion will never be forced into an agreement that bucks the thinking ofthose who live in Zion. Might it be the violation of the prisoner-release agreement? Lets hope so... these agreement have been pointless and sickeningly one sided.   The voracious construction in the territories? Hey Ho Let in continue at an exponential rate .Zions built-in refusal to part with the real estate? The Yiddos around the world are experts at accumulation and part only when superprofits come into pay in a really big way.  Heaven forbid! It is the Palestinians’ fault.Of course the Camel Keepers of Greater Israel are their Goats , Donkeys and Camel dung quagmire .The Startup Nation leads the world in terming sewerage waste into drinkable water and making a buck from recycling the Liberal Zionists Two State Shit. So the Groucho Marx Marxism  ''By announcing that they were willing to talk with us, they proved once again that they were unworthy of having us talk with them.''

Every true Groucho Marxist understands this.But serious , when it came to Israel and Zionism, Groucho Marx wouldn't have been able to locate Zion even if it was the only country on the map. American Jewishness, Groucho  acknowledged...anything out of those wonderful States South and West of Canada .... Groucho Marx couldn't have given a damn . He simply was never asked and never offered an opinion , at least public-ally.

There is nothing more depressing or disheartening, more ludicrous or embarrassing, than having to learn yet again that Groucho Marxism was, is and evidently will remain the most sanctified ideology of (most of) Israel’s governments throughout the country’s history. For 30 years at least, and maybe more.

Julius Henry Marx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977), known professionally as Groucho Marx, was an American comedian and film and television star. He was known as a master of quick wit and is widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era.His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers and imitators.

He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show You Bet Your Life.

His distinctive appearance, carried over from his days in vaudeville, included quirks such as an exaggerated stooped posture, glasses, cigar, and a thick greasepaint mustache and eyebrows. These exaggerated features resulted in the creation of one of the world's most ubiquitous and recognizable novelty disguises, known as "Groucho glasses": a one-piece mask consisting of horn-rimmed glasses, large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and mustache.
Julius Marx was born on October 2, 1890, in New York City, New York

Marx stated that he was born in a room above a butcher's shop on East 78th Street in New York City, "Between Lexington & 3rd", as told to Dick Cavett in a 1969 television interview.[5] The Marx children grew up on East 93rd Street off Lexington Avenue in a neighborhood now known as Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side of the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The turn-of-the-century building that his brother Harpo called "the first real home they ever knew" (in his memoir Harpo Speaks) was populated with European immigrants, mostly artisans. Just across the street were the oldest brownstones in the area, owned by people such as the well-connected Loew Brothers and William Orth. The Marx family lived at this location "for about 14 years", Groucho also told Cavett.

Marx's family was Jewish. Groucho's mother was Miene "Minnie" Schoenberg, whose family came from Dornum in northern Germany when she was 16 years old. His father was Simon "Sam" Marx, who changed his name from Marrix, and was called "Frenchie" by his sons throughout his life because he and his family came from Alsace in France. Minnie's brother was Al Schoenberg, who shortened his name to Al Shean when he went into show business as half of Gallagher and Shean, a noted vaudeville act of the early 20th century. According to Groucho, when Shean visited he would throw the local waifs a few coins so that when he knocked at the door he would be surrounded by adoring fans. Marx and his brothers respected his opinions and asked him on several occasions to write some material for them.

Minnie Marx did not have an entertainment industry career but had intense ambition for her sons to go on the stage like their uncle. While pushing her eldest son Leonard (Chico Marx) in piano lessons she found that Julius had a pleasant soprano voice and the ability to remain on key. Julius's early career goal was to become a doctor, but the family's need for income forced him out of school at the age of twelve. By that time young Julius had become a voracious reader, particularly fond of Horatio Alger. Marx would continue to overcome his lack of formal education by becoming very well-read.

After a few stabs at entry-level office work and jobs suitable for adolescents, Julius took to the stage as a boy singer in 1905. Marx reputedly claimed that he was "hopelessly average" as a vaudevillian, but this was typically Marx, wisecracking in his true form. By 1909 Minnie Marx had assembled her sons into a forgettable-quality vaudeville singing group billed as "The Four Nightingales". The brothers Julius, Milton (Gummo Marx) and Arthur (originally Adolph, from 1911 Harpo Marx) and another boy singer, Lou Levy, traveled the U.S. vaudeville circuits to little fanfare. After exhausting their prospects in the East the family moved to La Grange, Illinois, to play the Midwest.

An early photo of the Marx brothers with their parents in New York City, 1915; from left: Groucho, Gummo, Minnie (mother), Zeppo, Frenchie (father), Chico, and Harpo

After a particularly dispiriting performance in Nacogdoches, Texas, Julius, Milton, and Arthur began cracking jokes onstage for their own amusement. Much to their surprise, the audience liked them better as comedians than as singers. They modified the then-popular Gus Edwards comedy skit "School Days" and renamed it "Fun In Hi Skule". The Marx Brothers would perform variations on this routine for the next seven years.

For a time in vaudeville all the brothers performed using ethnic accents. Leonard, the oldest, developed the Italian accent he used as Chico Marx to convince some roving bullies that he was Italian, not Jewish. Arthur, the next oldest, donned a curly red wig and became "Patsy Brannigan", a stereotypical Irish character. His discomfort speaking on stage led to his uncle Al Shean's suggestion that he stop speaking altogether and play the role in mime. Julius Marx's character from "Fun In Hi Skule" was an ethnic German, so Julius played him with a German accent. After the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, public anti-German sentiment was widespread, and Marx's German character was booed, so he quickly dropped the accent and developed the fast-talking wise-guy character that became his trademark.

The Marx Brothers became the biggest comedic stars of the Palace Theatre in New York City, which billed itself as the "Valhalla of Vaudeville". Brother Chico's deal-making skills resulted in three hit plays on Broadway. No comedy routine had ever so infected the Broadway circuit.

All of this predated their Hollywood career. By the time the Marxes made their first movie, they were major stars with sharply honed skills, and when Groucho was relaunched to stardom on You Bet Your Life, he had already been performing successfully for half a century.


The Marx Brothers in 1931 (from top, Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo) Hollywood

Groucho Marx made 26 movies, 13 of them with his brothers Chico and Harpo.[8] Marx developed a routine as a wisecracking hustler with a distinctive chicken-walking lope, an exaggerated greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, and an ever-present cigar, improvising insults to stuffy dowagers (often played by Margaret Dumont) and anyone else who stood in his way. As the Marx Brothers, he and his brothers starred in a series of popular stage shows and movies.

Their first movie was a silent film made in 1921 that was never released, and is believed to have been destroyed at the time. A decade later, the team made some of their Broadway hits into movies, including The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers Other successful films were Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, and A Night at the Opera.

The film diminished the lawless “do anything for a laugh” mentality of their earlier pictures. But what it gained was a picture with greater emphasis on controlled storytelling. The cast was crafted to have no unnecessary characters, the narrative structure is strong, and each brother manages to shine with their trademark humor. Groucho still verbally assaults most people with whom he shares a conversation, Harpo’s silent boyishness pairs well with his unrestrained mischief, and Chico, ever Harpo’s partner, swindles and tricks his way through the film. It is signature Marx comedy with a more impressive stage.

 One quip from Marx concerned his response to Sam Wood, the director of A Night at the Opera. Furious with the Marx Brothers' ad-libs and antics on the set, Wood yelled in disgust: "You can't make an actor out of clay." Groucho responded, "Nor a director out of Wood."

Marx also worked as a radio comedian and show host. One of his earliest stints was a short-lived series in 1932, Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, costarring Chico. Though most of the scripts and discs were thought to have been destroyed, all but one of the scripts were found in 1988 in the Library of Congress. In 1947 Marx was asked to host a radio quiz program You Bet Your Life. It was broadcast by ABC and then CBS before moving to NBC. It moved from radio to television on October 5, 1950 and ran for eleven years. Filmed before a live audience, the show consisted of Marx bantering with the contestants and ad-libbing jokes before briefly quizzing them. The show was responsible for popularizing the phrases "Say the secret woid [word] and the duck will come down and give you fifty dollars," "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" and "What color is the White House?" (asked to reward a losing contestant a consolation prize).

Throughout his career he introduced a number of memorable songs in films, including "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" and "Hello, I Must Be Going", in Animal Crackers, "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It", "Everyone Says I Love You" and "Lydia the Tattooed Lady". Frank Sinatra, who once quipped that the only thing he could do better than Marx was sing, made a film with Marx and Jane Russell in 1951 entitled Double Dynamite.

Mustache, eyebrows, and walk
 In public and off-camera, Harpo and Chico were hard to recognize, without their wigs and costumes, but it was almost impossible for fans to recognize Groucho without his trademark eyeglasses, fake eyebrows, and mustache.

The greasepaint mustache and eyebrows originated spontaneously prior to a vaudeville performance in the early 1920s when he did not have time to apply the pasted-on mustache he had been using (or, according to his autobiography, simply did not enjoy the removal of the mustache every night because of the effects of tearing an adhesive bandage off the same patch of skin every night). After applying the greasepaint mustache, a quick glance in the mirror revealed his natural hair eyebrows were too undertoned and did not match the rest of his face, so Marx added the greasepaint to his eyebrows and headed for the stage. The absurdity of the greasepaint was never discussed on-screen, but in a famous scene in Duck Soup, where both Chicolini (Chico) and Pinky (Harpo) disguise themselves as Groucho, they are briefly seen applying the greasepaint, implicitly answering any question a viewer might have had about where he got his mustache and eyebrows.

Marx was asked to apply the greasepaint mustache once more for You Bet Your Life when it came to television, but he refused, opting instead to grow a real one, which he wore for the rest of his life. By this time, his eyesight had weakened enough for him actually to need corrective lenses; before then, his eyeglasses had merely been a stage prop. He debuted this new, and now much-older, appearance in Love Happy, the Marx Brothers's last film as a comedy team.

Groucho and Eve Arden in a scene from At the Circus (1939)

He did paint the old character mustache over his real one on a few rare performing occasions, including a TV sketch with Jackie Gleason on the latter's variety show in the 1960s (in which they performed a variation on the song "Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean," co-written by Marx's uncle Al Shean) and the 1968 Otto Preminger film Skidoo. In his late 70s at the time, Marx remarked on his appearance: "I looked like I was embalmed." He played a mob boss called "God" and, according to Marx, "both my performance and the film were God-awful!"

The exaggerated walk, with one hand on the small of his back and his torso bent almost 90 degrees at the waist was a parody of a fad from the 1880s and 1890s. Fashionable young men of the upper classes would affect a walk with their right hand held fast to the base of their spines, and with a slight lean forward at the waist and a very slight twist toward the right with the left shoulder, allowing the left hand to swing free with the gait. (Edmund Morris, in his biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, describes a young Roosevelt, newly elected to the State Assembly, walking into the House Chamber for the first time in this trendy, affected gait, somewhat to the amusement of the older and more rural members.)[citation needed] Groucho exaggerated this fad to a marked degree, and the comedy effect was enhanced by how out of date the fashion was by the 1940s and 1950s.

Personal life

Groucho's three marriages all ended in divorce. His first wife was chorus girl Ruth Johnson. He was 29 and she 19 at the time of their wedding. The couple had two children, Arthur Marx and Miriam Marx. His second wife was Kay Marvis (m. 1945–51), née Catherine Dittig,former wife of Leo Gorcey. Groucho was 54 and Kay 21 at the time of their marriage. They had a daughter, Melinda Marx. His third wife was actress Eden Hartford.She was 24 when she married the 63-year-old Groucho.

During the early 1950s, Groucho described his perfect woman: “Someone who looks like Marilyn Monroe and talks like George S. Kaufman.”
 Groucho was denied membership in an informal symphonietta of friends (including Harpo) organized by Ben Hecht, because he could play only the mandolin. When the group began its first rehearsal at Hecht's home, Groucho rushed in and demanded silence from the "lousy amateurs". The musicians discovered him conducting a recorded performance of Tannhäuser in Hecht's living room. Groucho was allowed to join the symphonietta

Later in life, Groucho would sometimes note to talk show hosts, not entirely jokingly, that he was unable to actually insult anyone, because the target of his comment would assume that it was a Groucho-esque joke, and would laugh.

Despite his lack of formal education, he wrote many books, including his autobiography, Groucho and Me (1959) and Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1963). He was a friend of such literary figures as T. S. Eliot and Carl Sandburg. Much of his personal correspondence with those and other figures is featured in the book The Groucho Letters (1967) with an introduction and commentary on the letters written by Groucho, who donated[14] his letters to the Library of Congress.

Groucho made serious efforts to learn to play the guitar. In the 1932 film Horse Feathers, Groucho performs the film’s love theme “Everyone Says I Love You” for costar Thelma Todd on a Gibson L-5.
 Irving Berlin quipped, "The world would not be in such a snarl, had Marx been Groucho instead of Karl". In his book The Groucho Phile, Marx says "I've been a liberal Democrat all my life", and "I frankly find Democrats a better, more sympathetic crowd.... I'll continue to believe that Democrats have a greater regard for the common man than Republicans do". Marx & Lennon: The Parallel Sayings was published in 2005; the book records similar sayings between Groucho Marx and John Lennon.

Later years
You Bet Your Life
Groucho's radio life was not as successful as his life on stage and in film, though historians such as Gerald Nachman and Michael Barson suggest that, in the case of the single-season Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel (1932), the failure may have been a combination of a poor time slot and the Marx Brothers' returning to Hollywood to make another film.

In the mid-1940s, during a depressing lull in his career (his radio show Blue Ribbon Town had failed, he failed to sell his proposed sitcom The Flotsam Family only to see it become a huge hit as The Life of Riley with William Bendix in the title role, and the Marx Brothers as film performers were well past their prime), Groucho was scheduled to appear on a radio show with Bob Hope. Annoyed that he was made to wait in the waiting room for 40 minutes, Groucho went on the air in a foul mood.

Groucho as host of You Bet Your Life, 1953
Hope started by saying "Why, it's Groucho Marx, ladies and gentlemen! (applause) Groucho, what brings you here from the hot desert?" Groucho retorted, "Hot desert my foot, I've been standing in the cold waiting room for forty minutes!" Groucho continued to ignore the script, and although Hope was a formidable ad-libber in his own right, he could not begin to keep up with Groucho, who lengthened the scene well beyond its allotted time slot with a veritable onslaught of improvised wisecracks.

Listening in on the show was producer John Guedel, who had a brainstorm. He approached Groucho about doing a quiz show, to which Groucho derisively retorted, "A quiz show? Only actors who are completely washed up resort to a quiz show!" Undeterred, Guedel explained that the quiz would be only a backdrop for Groucho's interviews of people, and the storm of ad-libbing that they would elicit. Groucho said, "Well, I've had no success in radio, and I can't hold on to a sponsor. At this point, I'll try anything!"
 You Bet Your Life debuted in October 1947 on radio on ABC (which aired it from 1947 to 1949), sponsored by costume jewelry manufacturer Allen Gellman;[18] and then on CBS (1949–50), and finally NBC, continuing until May 1961—on radio only, 1947–1950; on both radio and television, 1950–1960; and on television only, 1960–1961. The show proved a huge hit, being one of the most popular on television by the mid-1950s. With George Fenneman as his announcer and straight man, Groucho entertained his audiences with improvised conversation with his guests. Since You Bet Your Life was mostly ad-libbed and unscripted—although writers did pre-interview the guests and feed Groucho ready-made lines in advance—the producers insisted that the network prerecord it (instead of it being broadcast live).[citation needed] There were two reasons for this: prerecording provided Groucho with time to fish around for funny exchanges and any intervening dead spots to be edited out; and secondly to protect the network, since Groucho was a notorious loose cannon and known to say almost anything. The television show ran for 11 successful seasons until it was canceled in 1961. Automobile marque DeSoto was a longtime major sponsor. For the DeSoto ads Marx would sometimes say: "Tell 'em Groucho sent you", or "Try a DeSoto before you decide".

The program's theme music was an instrumental version of "Hooray for Captain Spaulding", which became increasingly identified as Groucho's personal theme song. A recording of the song with Groucho and the Ken Lane singers with an orchestra directed by Victor Young was released in 1952. Another recording made by Groucho during this period was "The Funniest Song in the World", released on the Young People's Records label in 1949. It was a series of five original children's songs with a connecting narrative about a monkey and his fellow zoo creatures.

The show's most infamous remark supposedly occurred as Groucho was interviewing Charlotte Story, who had borne 19 children. When Marx asked why she had chosen to raise such a large family, Mrs. Story is said to have replied, "I love my husband"; to which Marx responded, "I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile." The remark was judged too risqué to be aired, according to the anecdote, and was edited out before broadcast.[19]

Marion and Charlotte Story—parents of 20 children, not 19—did in fact appear as contestants on the radio version of the show, in 1950. Audio recordings of the interview exist, and a reference to cigars is made ("With each new kid, do you go around passing out cigars?"), but there is no evidence of the famous line. Marx and Fenneman both denied that the incident took place. In a 1972 Esquire interview, Marx told Roger Ebert, "I never said that." Marx's 1976 memoir recounts the episode as fact,] but co-writer Hector Arce relied mostly on sources other than Marx himself — who was by then in his mid eighties and mentally compromised — and was probably unaware that Marx had specifically denied making the legendary observation.

Other work
By the time You Bet Your Life debuted on TV on October 5, 1950, Groucho had grown a real mustache (which he had already sported earlier in the films Copacabana and Love Happy).

During a tour of Germany in 1958, accompanied by then-wife Eden, daughter Melinda, Robert Dwan and Dwan's daughter Judith, he climbed a pile of rubble that marked the site of Adolf Hitler's bunker, the site of Hitler's death, and performed a two-minute Charleston.[26] He later remarked to Richard J. Anobile in The Marx Brothers Scrapbook, "Not much satisfaction after he killed six million Jews!"

Groucho as Koko, 1960
In 1960, Groucho, a lifelong devotee of the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, appeared as Koko the Lord High Executioner in a televised production of The Mikado on NBC's Bell Telephone Hour. A clip of this is in rotation on Classic Arts Showcase.

Another TV show, Tell It To Groucho, premiered January 11, 1962 on CBS, but only lasted five months. On October 1, 1962, Groucho, after acting as occasional guest host of The Tonight Show during the six-month interval between Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, introduced Carson as the new host. In 1965, a weekly show for British TV titled Groucho was poorly received and lasted only 11 weeks.

In 1964, Marx starred in the "Time for Elizabeth" episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, a truncated version of a play that Groucho Marx and Norman Krasna wrote in 1948.

Groucho appeared as a gangster named God in the movie Skidoo (1968), directed by Otto Preminger, and costarring Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing. It was released by the studio where the Marx Brothers began their film career, Paramount Pictures. The film received almost universally negative reviews. As a side note, writer Paul Krassner published a story in the February 1981 issue of High Times, relating how Groucho prepared for the LSD-themed movie by taking a dose of the drug in Krassner's company, and had a moving, largely pleasant experience. Four years later came Groucho's last theatrical film appearance, a brief, uncredited cameo in Michael Ritchie's The Candidate (1972).

Groucho developed friendships with rock star Alice Cooper—the two were photographed together for Rolling Stone magazine—and television host Dick Cavett, becoming a frequent guest on Cavett's late-night talk show, even appearing in a one-man, 90-minute interview.[27] He befriended Elton John when the British singer was staying in California in 1972, insisting on calling him "John Elton." According to writer Philip Norman, when Groucho jokingly pointed his index fingers as if holding a pair of six-shooters, Elton John put up his hands and said, "Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player," thereby naming the album he had just completed. A film poster for the Marx Bros. movie Go West is visible on the album cover photograph as an homage to Groucho. Elton John accompanied Groucho to a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. As the lights went down, Groucho called out, "Does it have a happy ending?" And during the Crucifixion scene, he declared, "This is sure to offend the Jews."[citation needed]

Groucho's previous work regained popularity; new books of transcribed conversations were published by Richard J. Anobile and Charlotte Chandler. In a BBC interview in 1975, Groucho called his greatest achievement having a book selected for cultural preservation in the Library of Congress. As a man who never had formal schooling, to have his writings declared culturally important was a point of great satisfaction. As he passed his 81st birthday in 1971, however, Groucho became increasingly frail, physically and mentally, as a result of a succession of minor strokes.

In 1972, largely at the behest of his companion Erin Fleming, Groucho staged a live one-man show at Carnegie Hall that was later released as a double album, An Evening with Groucho, on A&M Records. He also made an appearance in 1973 on a short-lived variety show hosted by Bill Cosby. Fleming's influence on Marx was controversial. Some close to Marx believed that she did much to revive his popularity, and the relationship with a younger woman boosted his ego and vitality. Others described her as a Svengali, exploiting an increasingly senile Marx in pursuit of her own stardom. Marx's children, particularly Arthur, felt strongly that Fleming was pushing their weak father beyond his physical and mental limits.[29] Writer Mark Evanier concurred.

On the 1974 Academy Awards telecast, Marx's final major public appearance, Jack Lemmon presented him with an honorary Academy Award to a standing ovation. Noticeably frail, Groucho took a bow for his deceased brothers. "I wish that Harpo and Chico could be here to share with me this great honor," he said. He also praised the late Margaret Dumont as a great straight woman who never understood any of his jokes.[27][31] Groucho's final appearance was a brief sketch with George Burns in the Bob Hope television special Joys in 1976. His health continued to decline the following year; he was never told of his brother Gummo's death, at age 84 on April 21, 1977, for fear of eliciting still further deterioration.

Groucho maintained his irrepressible sense of humor to the very end, however. When a nurse approached him with a thermometer during his final hospitalization, explaining that she wanted to see if he had a temperature, he responded, "Don't be silly—everybody has a temperature." George Fenneman, his radio and TV announcer, good-natured foil, and lifelong friend, often related a story of one of his final visits to Groucho's home: When the time came to end the visit, Fenneman lifted Groucho from his wheelchair, put his arms around his torso, and began to "walk" the frail comedian backwards across the room towards his bed. As he did, he heard a weak voice in his ear: "Fenneman," whispered Groucho, "you always were a lousy dancer."] Actor Elliott Gould recalled a similar incident: "I was privileged to be Groucho Marx’s friend in his latter days," he said. "And I recall the last time I saw Groucho, he was in the hospital, and he had tubes in his nose and what have you. And when he saw me, he was weak, but he was there; and he put his fingers on the tubes and played them like it was a clarinet. Groucho played the tubes for me, which brings me to tears."


Marx was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with pneumonia on June 22, 1977 and died at the age of 86 on August 19, four months after Gummo.

Marx was cremated and the ashes were interred in the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Groucho had the longest lifespan of all the Marx Brothers and was survived by his children and younger brother Zeppo, who outlived him by two years. His death was somewhat overshadowed by the death of Elvis Presley, three days earlier. His gravestone bears no epitaph; but in one of his last interviews, he suggested one: "Excuse me, I can't stand up."

Protracted court battles over the disposition of his estate lasted well into the 1980s. Eventually, Arthur Marx was awarded the bulk of the estate's assets, and Fleming was ordered to repay $472,000 Fleming died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2003


Marx and Lennon on a 1994 Abkhazia stamp parodying Marxism-Leninism
Groucho Marx was, and remains, the most recognizable and well-known of the Marx Brothers. Groucho-like characters and references have appeared in popular culture both during and after his life, some aimed at audiences who may never have seen a Marx Brothers movie. Groucho's trademark eyeglasses, nose, mustache, and cigar have become icons of comedy—glasses with fake noses and mustaches (referred to as "Groucho glasses", "nose-glasses," and other names) are sold by novelty and costume shops around the world.

Nat Perrin, close friend of Groucho Marx and writer of several Marx Brothers films, inspired John Astin's portrayal of Gomez Addams on the 1960s TV series The Addams Family with similarly thick mustache, eyebrows, sardonic remarks, backward logic, and ever-present cigar (pulled from his breast pocket already lit).[citation needed]

Two albums by British rock band Queen, A Night at the Opera (1975) and A Day at the Races (1976), are named after Marx Brothers films. In March 1977, Groucho invited Queen to visit him in his Los Angeles home; there they performed "'39" a cappella. A long-running ad campaign for Vlasic Pickles features an animated stork that imitates Groucho's mannerisms and voice. On the famous Hollywood Sign in California, one of the "O"s is dedicated to Groucho. Alice Cooper contributed over $27,000 to remodel the sign, in memory of his friend.

Actor Frank Ferrante has performed as Groucho Marx on stage for more than two decades. He continues to tour under rights granted by the Marx family in a show entitled An Evening with Groucho in theaters throughout the United States and Canada with supporting actors and piano accompanist Jim Furmston. In the late 1980s Ferrante starred as Groucho in the off-Broadway and London show Groucho: A Life in Revue penned by Groucho's son Arthur. Ferrante portrayed the comedian from age 15 to 85. The show was later filmed for PBS in 2001. In 1982, Gabe Kaplan filmed a version of the same show, entitled Groucho.

Woody Allen's 1996 musical Everyone Says I Love You, in addition to being named for one of Groucho's signature songs, ends with a Groucho-themed New Year's Eve party in Paris, which some of the stars, including Allen and Goldie Hawn, attend in full Groucho costume. The highlight of the scene is an ensemble song-and-dance performance of "Hooray for Captain Spaulding"—done entirely in French.

The BBC remade the radio sitcom Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, with contemporary actors playing the parts of the original cast. The series was repeated on digital radio station BBC7. Scottish playwright Louise Oliver wrote a play named Waiting for Groucho about Chico and Harpo waiting for Groucho to turn up for the filming of their last project together. This was performed by Glasgow theatre company Rhymes with Purple Productions at the Edinburgh Fringe and in Glasgow and Hamilton in 2007–08. Groucho was played by Scottish actor Frodo McDaniel.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Romeo and Juliet in Palestine:Teaching Under Occupation,by Tom Sperlinger , Zero Books / John Hunt Publishing

Romeo and Juliet in Palestine

Life in the West Bank, the nature of pedagogy and the role of a university under occupation.

Is 'Romeo and Juliet' really a love story, or is it a play about young people living in dangerous circumstances? How might life under occupation produce a new reading of 'Julius Caesar'? What choices must a group of Palestinian students make, when putting on a play which has Jewish protagonists? And why might a young Palestinian student refuse to read?

For five months at the start of 2013, Tom Sperlinger taught English literature at the Abu Dis campus of Al-Quds University in the Occupied West Bank. In this account of the semester, Sperlinger explores his students' encounters with works from 'Hamlet' and 'The Yellow Wallpaper' to Kafka and Malcolm X. By placing stories from the classroom alongside anecdotes about life in the West Bank, Sperlinger shows how his own ideas about literature and teaching changed during his time in Palestine, and asks what such encounters might reveal about the nature of pedagogy and the role of a university under occupation.

Circumscribed temporally (one semester) and spatially (in “Palestine”) as the story might appear to be the parameters are only too flexible, fluid, unstable—circumstantial... The author cautions, in what superficially appears to be a form of the standard disclaimer, that his narrative will be a “story about the particular students and colleagues I encountered and is not intended as a general account of life in Palestine or at the university”. Rather than the pro forma disclaimer, however, of the sort that absolves others—readers and writers, students and teachers—of accountability or responsibility for what is to follow, Sperlinger’s caveat, in its relentless insistence on specificity and context, eschews spurious claims to a putative universality that threatens to conceal instead a will to domination... The narrative of Romeo and Juliet in Palestine is construed episodically, with each of its thirteen chapters recounting a particular, singular, engagement between a traditional educational mission under duress and the contextual details that both inform and mitigate the fault lines of that historical force field. In Chapter 4, for example, entitled “I was part of the story,” Sperlinger—since become at once teacher and learner— reflects self-consciously, indeed self-critically, on the “parallels between what I was doing [teaching Shakespeare in occupied Palestine] and the subject’s history as part of the curriculum in colonial settings...”. Just four chapters later, in “When I was out” (Chapter 8), Al-Quds is once again on strike, this time, as is also often the case, over unpaid wages, especially given Israel’s repeatedly punishing failures to reimburse the taxes that it has collected from the Palestinians. Such closures, however, provide the serendipitous opportunities to explore alternative syllabi, in the political geography and cultural history of the occupied Palestinian territories: to join the regularly held protests against the apartheid wall in the village of Ni’lin, for example, or, on still another occasion, in Chapter 11 (“Split the Air”), to compare the Freedom Bus Theatre in Nabi Saleh with its namesake from the civil rights protests from the 1960s in the US south, or to look askance at the infamous experiment in neoliberal modernization represented in a “planned Palestinian city,” Rawabi.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Approval Junkie : Adventures in Caring Too Much by Faith Salie , Crown Archetype

My husband likes to bullet point. He’s the Chief Strategy Officer of a large media company, so this makes sense for him. I’m the Chief Talky Officer in a few different mediums, so I can learn from his pith. And one of his favorite mantras is, “Act British, think Yiddish.” This life-changing maxim has become so commonplace in our lives that we often text each other simply, “ABTY” when we need a reminder of the best way to get what we want.

Acting British while thinking Yiddish means you take a breath and you give some charm. The “British” is the polite, and the “Yiddish” is the connection. It means you focus on the best outcome for a given situation, and then—even if you’re impatient or annoyed to the hilt by someone’s incompetence or arrogance—you adjust your behavior to be a little, well, nicer. More engaging. Human. Far more often than not, you end up with a better result, whether it’s persuading folks to do it your way or just getting an aisle seat. Finding the energy to be pleasant to someone who’s being a spectacular tool may sound daunting, but as you practice ABTY, you’ll begin to find that it drains you less than whirling around in frustration and getting nowhere.

As a young feminist, I used to think I owed it to my gender to be feisty, spunkily intractable, to approach a perceived adversary by speaking so loudly I didn’t need to carry a big, phallic stick. As an older feminist and someone who spends a lot of her career interviewing people, I’ve learned that Acting British—speaking softly, listening more—gets me a lot further. Oh, I do lean in. But sometimes I lean in for a hug. Being charming doesn’t mean being a pushover; no, it makes you more like a Weeble who wobbles and firms her core while not falling down.

Occasionally when I interview a famous person, he’s grumpy, because he’s having a bad day, or this is his 15th interview, or he’s Neil Young. I ABTY by thanking him sincerely for his time before the cameras roll and making it clear that I’ve done my research—I mention my appreciation of a detail in his film or his book; I demonstrate that I got all up in his oeuvre. Or we talk about his kids. This approach almost always leads to an interview that’s revealing and compelling and spontaneous, because we’ve started with a human connection. (This doesn’t work with Neil Young, who seems immune to this technique.) I find it’s even more important to ABTY when I’m sitting down to talk with someone who’s not used to being on camera, such as the many scientists I interview or the occasional wonky curator. While I could use my time to prep my notes or check my iPhone for the latest crisis update from the nanny, I spend it focusing on my interviewee to make her comfortable before we start filming. We can chat about anything so long as she forgets to be nervous. The outcome is that we have an un-self conscious, meaningful conversation on camera, and she’s actually enjoying herself and not worried if her face looks shiny.

I myself have been managed by black belts in ABTY. When I was writing my book,Approval Junkie, my British-ish/Yiddish-ish editor midwifed me through several drafts. She could have attacked them with a red pen, doing literary liposuction on my bloated chapters. But she must have known that would have undermined my confidence as a first-time author. Instead, she gave me general gentle guidance, asked me provocative questions and showed faith in me by trusting I could come up with the answers myself. She led me to improve my manuscript organically. She encouraged me, in that way, to be my own editor. Her harshest feedback in the margins was, “Don’t love this.” That said it all. I mean, I’m an approval junkie. I wanted her to love. So I kept writing and we kept cutting until we both felt like we got it right.

Acting British and Thinking Yiddish doesn’t always involve managing difficult people. Sometimes it’s a matter of praising your colleagues (or your spouse or your kids) to get more of what’s already working. The executive producer of CBSSunday Morning is masterful at offering approval. His compliments are specific and sincere. He delivers them sometimes through email and sometimes in person, in passing or during a sit-down conference. His approbation makes me feel noticed and appreciated and proud to be part of his team. I’m convinced that’s one reason why Sunday Morning is a beloved show for viewers; its architect makes his team want to produce a show we’re all proud of.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour, and she, too, recognizes the power of praise. She credits a mentor who told her, “You should count the number of times you praise somebody and then double that.”

These leaders know it’s at least as powerful to give validation as it is to receive it. There’s simply no downside to expressing genuine approval. It doesn’t make someone rest on his laurels; rather, it makes him feel observed and valued. What he does matters, so he’s going to do more of it. (This is a useful tip when you’re enjoying a massage, by the way.)

But you don’t have to be a boss to offer it. Try smacking your colleagues’ hands with a high five and see if it doesn’t inspire you, as well. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge your co-workers’ dedication or thank them for helping you do your job better. Feeding other people’s fundamental needs fills us up too. Rising tides lift all cubicles.

And don’t be afraid to compliment your boss. Just avoid being fulsome. Something like, “Thanks for your guidance” or “I really appreciate how you listen to us,” rather than “Ma’am, I’d like to just say that your husband is so hot it’s amazing you get any work accomplished.”

Let me be clear that I’m not advocating being disingenuous with people to get what you want. (Except at the DMV. Do anything you need to do at the DMV.) Here’s the really magical part of Acting British and Thinking Yiddish: the side effect is you humanize an interaction. I love talking with people off mic at least as much as I do on camera. I’ve witnessed my husband charm everyone from hotel managers to TSA agents. He’s never insincere. The best that can happen is an upgrade . The worst that can happen is he gets someone to smile through a real connection. When you get people to like you a little, you sort of end up liking them too, even if they’re giving you a thorough pat-down.

So the next time you want to reply all and fire off a caps lock email to your impossible colleague reminding him that he’s A NIGHTMARE TO WORK WITH!!!!…pause. Collect yourself. Perhaps visit his desk and ask him if you can have lunch. Maybe then he’ll remove the tuna sandwich that has been moldering in the office refrigerator for three weeks, giving everyone mercury poisoning by proximity.

The Chief Strategy Officer in my life has given me a life strategy of civility and connection. I invite you to make it yours. Obviously you don’t have to be British or speak Yiddish to harness the power of ABTY. You will still enjoy making friends with the toffs, shmegegges, and shtunks.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cyberterrorism- Your Smartphone or Mine.... probably both

The Evolution of Cyber War: International Norms for Emerging-Technology Weapons Hardcover – ,by Brian M. Mazanec,  Potomac Books 
Cyberterrorism After Stuxnet,Paperback, by Thomas M. Chen, Didactic Press
The New Threat: Cyberterrorism with Stephen J. Adler, Frank Cilluffo, Marc Gordon, Michael McConnell, Mike Sheehan, Audiobook
A Review and Analysis of the World of Cyber Terrorism Yoram Golandsky,
Cyber Security by Ami Rojkes Dombe and Yoram Golandsky
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know® 1st Edition
by P.W. Singer , Allan Friedman ,Oxford University Press
 Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath Hardcover – October 27, 2015 by Ted Koppel , Crown

In order to conduct a discussion about cyber terrorism, one needs to differentiate between terrorism and other kinds of threats in cyberspace, such as organized crime, espionage, cyber war and activism. Terrorism is characterized as an act intended to achieve political objectives through influencing the decision making process of a nation state. Another characteristic is that it is an act intended to cause fear through violent means. For instance, activism also wants to affect political decision, but does not use intimidation of the public to do so.

Violent means that are used in cyber terrorism can physically harm people through manipulation of information systems (IT&OT) that run physical systems [critical infrastructures].They can also be used to disrupt the routine of modern life that is based mostly on information systems [for example, attacks on the financial sector].

Another point to be taken into consideration when reading this review is that a cyber terrorist organization operates in a very similar way to a business organization. In both cases, it is a for-profit organization, but instead of financial gain, the terrorist organization is acting to achieve political gain. This means that many of the tools and methods used by business organizations in the cyber sphere for financial gain are used by the terrorist organization to gain political objectives. This dual use of technologies, tools and methods makes it difficult to identify and counter cyber terrorism.

Terrorism is an act of very high intensity in terms of the risks it entails and possible impact, in addition to undermining the public’s sense of security. It is usually performed in the context of an organization, one that may be strong, secretive and many times benefits from global network and the lack of physical boundaries, as well as the support of the local population.
Most definitions of a terrorist act are based on a number of premises:

The purpose of the act is to promote a political, ideological or religious purpose.
The goal of the act is to create an effect of extreme fear and panic in the general public or force a government/elected body to change its policy
The act is characterized as a grave and violent one that can endanger human life (also through the disruption of critical infrastructures1).

Professor Boaz Ganor of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism defines terrorism as “a violent struggle, in which violence is used intentionally (or threatened to be used) against civilians, for the purpose of achieving political goals”.

Cyber Terrorism
Cyber terrorism is no different in its objectives then physical terrorism. Cyber terrorism uses the cyber sphere to spread fear and panic in the general public in order to achieve political goals. Unlike physical terrorism, cyber terrorism has yet to directly cause fatalities.

Terrorism uses cyberspace for more pragmatic purposes as well, such as fundraising, recruitment, acquiring knowledge, intelligence gathering, money transfer, arms procurement and purchasing of other goods. In fact, a terrorist organization uses the cyber sphere for every aspect necessary to run its operations, just like any legitimate business.

Cyber terrorism is less expensive to execute than physical terrorism. One reason being awareness. While terrorism in the physical sense is not a new phenomenon and nations have established intelligence and defense organizations to deal with it and foil it, terrorism in the cyber sphere is a relatively new phenomenon that has yet to create national or international mechanisms to counter it. Therefore, in economic terms, the threshold for committing cyber terrorism is lower than in physical terrorism.

Cyber terrorism does not require a long, complex and expensive logistical tail. In theory, any lone wolf/hacker with a reasonable resources can commit an act of cyber terrorism while drinking espresso in a coffee shop. Hacking the twitter account of the president of the United States and posting a threatening message does not require prolonged intelligence gathering, explosives, weapons, a getaway car or safe houses.

Political objectives
Cyber terrorism is mostly employed by the same actors who perform terrorist acts in the physical world – terrorist organizations and nations who sponsor terrorism. Its main objective is to achieve political gain.

The main tool in cyber terrorism is spreading fear in the public. The main methods of doing so includes media websites, social networks and websites/blogs belonging to leaders of public opinion. The terrorists will seek out the platform with the greatest ability to spread a threatening message to the public. It is not a coincidence that “The electronic Syrian army” a terror group associated with the Assad regime in Syria, is known for attacking twitter accounts of news channels2.

One main use of the cyberspace in terms of terrorism is for communication purposes – for contact between operatives to execute an attack in the physical dimension, recruitment, planning a collective cyber-attacks, or passing messages for any other purpose.

The technologies used to this end are those utilizing electromagnetic transmissions and those using the internet – from landline, mobile and satellite phones, VOIP communications based on SIP protocol or any other medium. The internet communication tools are chat programs [WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and others]3 ,social media, cellular apps including games, and email.
One should remember that when it comes to communication there is no real difference between the operations of a terrorist organization and a business organization, the difference is in the objectives. While the former wants to spread fear in the public, the latter wants to sell a product to the public. In both cases this means selling an idea for the purpose of motivating the end consumer to act. Therefore, when thinking about the use terrorist organizations make of cyber, one should assume they will use similar tools to those of a business organization.
Thus we learn about one of the most basic problems of dealing with and foiling cyber terrorism – The dual use of technology. In other words: the same technology that is used for legitimate economic activities, can be used for terrorist activities.

Terrorists want to spread fear. Hence they direct their activities at news outlets that can mass distribute messages to the public with little effort. To this end terrorist organizations use websites of media outlets, companies and individuals who are thought leaders on social media. Another platform to pass on a message to the masses is by cell phone. There were cases in the past in which Hamas has sent threatening text messages to the Israeli public.

Propaganda can be achieved through creating messages in the physical dimension. For example, if a terrorist organization can gain control over the traffic light system and obstruct the main roads, it will convey a powerful message. It can also do so by disrupting information on a commonly used navigational system like Waze. Proving the capability to disrupt the daily routine can cause fear in the public and gain political capital.

In the age of internet of things [IOT], terrorist organizations can use any technology that delivers messages and is connected to the World Wide Web – for example, electronic billboards, smart TVs and others. In terms of propaganda, the advantage a terrorist organization has in cyberspace is the relative ease of disrupting messages conveyed to the public. For example, hacking the twitter account of a prime minister is not considered a very difficult task, but its results can be devastating.

The financial sector is used by terrorist organizations for two main purposes: financial management of the organization and attacking of the financial sector to disrupt normal life and cause fear. In the management aspect, the terror organization uses the banking system for money laundering, payments to operatives, arms procurement, payment for cyber-attacks conducted through outsourcing and various other missions.

When it comes to causing fear, the terrorist organization will act to disrupt life’s routine: disrupting the stock exchange, altering data bases of a central bank or manufacturing a bribery case for an elected official through the injection of information into his bank account – all of these can cause chaos in a country. The financial sector can be a mean of spreading fear in the public due to its pivotal role in everyday life.

Another technology used in the financial sector is virtual currency which by design is a method of transferring funds anonymously. Terrorist organizations use this medium to make it more difficult for national an international security services to track their sources of funding.

As any other organization, terrorist organization needs funding to execute its ideology, funding typically come from a supporting nation (when associated) and from “donations of ideologist supporters, the same way the WWW is perfect for fundraising in Kickstarter it is perfect for fundraising terror operation. Instead of sending representatives door to door a terror group sends an email or a message through social media groups. The purpose is the same – reaching out to a supportive audience and raising funds. Digital currencies such as Bitcoins help the organization raise funds anonymously.

Fundraising among supportive communities might be legitimate act (pending on the purpose). However, knowing that it exists should lead to monitoring these activities in order to uncover the ways that terrorism is funded. Furthermore, contacts that are made for the purpose of fundraising can also be used for other purposes, such as recruitment, intelligence gathering, arms procurement and more.

Recruiting operatives is similar in its essence to fundraising, only instead of funds the resource is operatives for the organization. For example, ISIS recruits operatives through twitter4 or Anonymous recruiting operatives to attack Israel on April 7th with a DDoS attack. Recruitment is done on online forums, mailing lists, and any other means that enable the terrorist organization to contact its loyal public.

Acquiring knowledge
Terrorists need to learn – whether it is knowledge for physical implementation of terrorism [building bombs, working with explosives] or knowledge for implementation in cyber terrorism [programing languages, coding malicious software]. The cyber sphere that is used as an infrastructure for knowledge sharing is also used by those engaged in terrorism to acquire information and knowledge.

Alongside tactical information, the internet allows terrorists to acquire academic knowledge in the fields of engineering, chemistry, physics, etc. Higher education enables terrorist organization to close technological gaps they have compared to the capabilities of a nation state. In the context of cyber, higher education in the fields of sciences and computer sciences places the terrorists in the forefront of knowledge, alongside white hat hackers.

Arms procurement
The cyber sphere is used by terrorists to procure physical weapons and cyber malicious software. Whether through secret groups on social media, closed forums, IRC channels or the dark web, arms procurement is an industry serving anyone with money.

For a number of years criminal organizations have dealt in the commercialization of malicious software. This is an huge industry engaged in the development of malicious software sold as a service [SaaS], including support and updates. Modern malicious software is composed of a collection of components put together to create an attack tool as a service. Each such component is an entire professional field, with developers who do it for a living. This is a full economic ecosystem of professional service providers collaborating amongst themselves for the purpose of selling malicious software.5 6This commercial infrastructure is used by cyber terrorists. Alongside purchasing of cyber-attack capabilities, there is also an infrastructure based in the cyber sphere for buying and selling physical weapons of various kinds.

Intelligence gathering
The WWW is awesome for intelligence gathering, the terrorists acquire intelligence on their targets from 3rd parties, collect OSINT and WebINT, map-out targets, plan courses of action in preparation for an operation and use the internet to coordinate operations.

In fact, there is no difference between a business organization wanting threat intelligence for defensive purposes, and a terrorist organization wanting intelligence for the purpose of preforming a “cyber terrorist attack”. In both cases intelligence gathering can be performed through the same tools and methods.

Actors in the world of cyber terrorism
Russia is considered one of the countries that possess superior cyber capabilities. Russia first used cyber as a weapon during the war with Georgia in 2008. Subsequently Russia started using cyber terrorism as a means of promoting its political objectives. One example is the attacks on critical infrastructures in the Ukraine78 executed by a group typically associated with cybercrime9.

Russia is used as a shelter for companies offering “Bulletproof Hosting”10, many of whom are used as an infrastructure for cyber terrorist attacks alongside gambling and child pornography. Russia is also home to some of the largest cyber-crime organizations in the world. These criminal organizations are also used as part of the infrastructure for executing acts of cyber terrorism.

China is also considered one of the countries that possess superior cyber capabilities. China is estimated to employ nearly 200,000 people in the field of cyber, about 30,000 of them work for the Chinese army and the rest in the private sector11.

Officially, China opposes any kind of cyber terrorism, but unofficially it has the ability to disrupt critical infrastructures, banking systems and the systems for relaying information to the public [news media]. Hence, it has great potential for using cyber terrorism for political purposes, those capabilities might materialize if the United States chooses to threaten the stability of the ruling communist party.

Iran is known to employ terrorism for political purposes. For the most part, Iran’s cyber terrorist attacks correspond to political maneuvers it is trying to promote, for example whilst the nuclear talks with the US and Europe. During the negotiation talks Iran employed a variety of cyber terrorist acts against the US12.

Iran has developed very good cyber capabilities over the years, and these are displayed in its ability to apply cyber terrorism. One way to enhance these abilities is to disrupt or threaten critical infrastructures.

Cyber terrorist attacks that can physically damage critical infrastructures of a country can cause grave casualties and lead to panic in the public. One such example is the Iranian attempt to target a dam in the state of New York13.

Iran is considered one of the strongest countries in terms of cyber capabilities. This is due to a sound academic infrastructure, a well-developed military industry and high motivation to use terrorism as a political tool14. Iran also uses terrorist organizations as a proxy [Hezbollah for example] and therefore it can implement cyber terrorism through them as “proxies” without the trail leading back to Tehran. Also in Iran there is an apparent connection between the government and private hacking groups that are used in order to execute the Iranian cyber strategy.

North Korea
North Korea employs terrorism for political purposes. The one event that placed the country on the terrorist map and in the news was the hacking of the Sony Corporation15. An attack that came as a response to a movie that Sony produced that mocked the ruler of North Korea. North Korea also uses cyber terrorism to cause fear in South Korea. Among other incidents, it tried to attack train infrastructures16 and nuclear power plants17. More about the capabilities of North Korea can be found in a report by the CSIS website18.

The Assad regime uses cyber terrorism through a hacker group called “the Electronic Syrian Army”. It is estimated that this organization receives funding from the Syrian government. One incident attributed to this organization is an attempt to poison the water system in Israel.

The Electronic Syrian Army is known for its specialty in attacking news organizations19. Their purpose is to broadcast messages through news outlets to promote the political goals of the Assad regime. This organization also engages in exposing the classified information of various regimes in the Middle East20. There is no doubt this organization is aware of the strength of the media as a medium for employing terrorism and specializes in it.

Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, employed as an Iranian extension, and therefore it is assumed that technical capabilities from Iran are transferred from Iran to Hezbollah. This transfer includes training of human capital in cyber, procurement of tools and systems, and sharing of intelligence knowledge. Hezbollah’s cyber capabilities were exposed in 2006 when during the second Lebanon war with Israel a claim was made that the organization was able to hack into the IDF’s encrypted mobile network called “Vered Harim”.

In 2013 there were claims that Israel eliminated the head of technology of the organization. This exemplifies how in the cyber sphere, technological capabilities that reach the hands of a terrorist organization, can pose a threat to an official state.

In February 2016 the organization unveiled its hacker unit and its capabilities, claiming to have superior capabilities.

Islamic jihad
The Islamic jihad is a terrorist organization operating in Gaza and has adapted cyber capabilities. Mostly it is an infrastructure based on “talents” – few individuals with high technical capabilities. This is not an organized infrastructure that develops human capital to perform cyber activities.
Not much is known about the organization’s cyber capabilities, but a case that was revealed in March 2016 shed light on the organization’s capabilities. In that case, a hacker named Majed Awida was accused of developing hacking software to infiltrate monitoring systems and sensitive systems of the military, police and TLV Airport. According to the charges, Awida, a computer engineer by profession, developed hacking software through which one can watch the live video of traffic cameras and police camera, and thus locate crowded places, assembly places of security forces and follow traffic cameras in Israel. The indictment also attributes to Awida the development of software enabling the tracking of aircraft and passenger movements in TLV airport. According to the indictment, Awida supplied the software to the Islamic Jihad and has continued developing malicious software for the organization that would enable the organization’s high ranking officers to track the IDF’s UAV transmission in real time.

ISIS aka Daesh
Operating in Syria and Iraq, uses the cyber sphere mostly for the purpose of intimidating the world’s population and creating propaganda. The most prominent example is the posting of horrifying executions in various methods on social media. The organization’s use of cyberspace for the purpose of publicizing its extreme visual messages is considered “pure” cyber terrorism, aimed at causing fear.

Alongside posting threatening messages and propaganda, the organization uses cyberspace for the routine operational activities of recruiting resources and people. In the context of terrorism the organization also uses other methods such as advertising the names of American security personnel with a call to its operatives around the world to assassinate them21.

There is no doubt ISIS is aware of the power of cyberspace for spreading propaganda and fear and it works to this end in social media and the internet. The organization also publishes a monthly online magazine named Dabiq 22uses chat services for communication with operatives and even developed mobile software for encrypted communication.

Anonymous is a terrorist organization operating for political purposes in the cyber sphere. Unlike other terrorist organizations in the physical world that also use cyber capabilities, Anonymous operates exclusively in cyberspace. Anonymous operates on the border between activism and terrorism.

Well known terrorist attacks by Anonymous are the attacks on Israel on April 7th over the past four years. These attacks were intended to spread fear in the Israeli public and effect the political decisions of the Israeli government. Anonymous operates in a similar manner towards other countries through Denial-of-service attack on government or stealing classified information and publishing it in order to intimidate and undermine the regime. Anonymous recently threatened to disrupt the Olympic games of Rio.23

Technological Trends in Cyber Terrorism
Similar to the physical dimension, terrorist organizations in cyber space outsource assignments to criminal organizations for payment. It’s been established that there is a link between terrorist organizations and organized crime, a link that is based on financial gain. One can also observe a connection between rogue states and terrorist organizations. Another link that was observed is between terrorist organizations and hacking groups that are used as mercenaries.

When examining the technological trends in the cyber terrorism world, it is important to note these links exist and technological trends flow from one group to the other.

An emphasis should be made on the flow of technology from the world of organized crime and the world of state cyber capabilities to the world of cyber terrorism. One prominent example is the leak of the Stuxnet code from the world of state-cyber to the internet24.This means a code that was created by a nation as a weapon to attack critical infrastructures is now at the hands of terrorist organizations and rogue states supporting these organizations. For those who do not believe a software code can paralyze critical infrastructures, it is recommended they review the experiment the American DHS held in 200725.

One of the trends we see in the world of cyber terrorism is a growing use of encryption, for the purpose of concealing the terrorists’ activities from the state’s security services. It is assumed that some of the cyber terrorism organizations have extremely high technological awareness, and therefore know that modern countries develop tools to monitor communications through electromagnetic transmissions and the internet. Voice, data, images, video or text – all are monitored. Therefore, terrorist organizations use encryption to hide their activities.

The use of encryption is not limited to a specific medium. From two-way radio devices, laptop and desktop computers, mobile phones, e-mail, chat software or file sharing software, the terrorist organization will try and maintain encrypted communications.

Encryption is not just AES. In the past the Israeli Mossad revealed26 that terrorist organizations use known websites such as Reddit, eBay and porn sites to pass encrypted messages. In that case the technique is called steganography27 and it enables hiding information in legitimate files.

Use of biometric technologies is expected to gain momentum in future in the user verification process of technological services. This trend is also expected to come into use amongst cyber terrorist organizations. Much like encryption, biometric technologies can aid terrorists in concealing their activities from law enforcement.

Another aspect of the biometric technology is the ability of terrorist to manipulate data for the purpose of intimidation. The main concern of law enforcement and data security professionals is a leak from a government’s biometric database. In theory, this scenario will enable the framing of innocent people. Whether they are thought leaders in the political, business or military world, framing them can undermine the sense of security the general public has in their government.

Biometric technologies are also expected to come into use as verification methods in the financial world. For terrorists, possessing such capabilities can give them an advantage in committing financial crimes for the funding of terrorism.

Malicious Software
Terrorists will continue to be part of the cyber ecosystem of malicious software, whether in developing malicious software, buying them or hiring hackers to attack targets on their behalf.
It is safe to assume that terrorists will increase their efforts to get their hands on capabilities that can disrupt the operations of critical infrastructures in order to conduct a mass casualty attack or disrupt the day to day life. In the attack in Brussels in March 2016, one of the assumptions is that the terrorists planned to disrupt the operation of a nuclear power plant in Belgium28.

In addition to damaging critical infrastructure, malicious software will continue to be used in the terrorist’s tool box for hacking of websites, social media accounts, databases and financial crimes.

Command and Control
Sophisticated terrorist activities in the cyberspace or the physical world require coordination, and the way to achieve it is to use command and control technologies. Cyber terrorists have adopted such technologies for the purpose of coordinating operatives in preparation for an attack, joint intelligence gathering and operational planning.

In addition, command and control technologies can aid the terrorist organization in managing equipment stocks, money and knowledge. In the cyber sphere, a terrorist organization can use the Waze Rider service to coordinate a meeting between members of a sleeper cell, despite the fact that the service was originally designed to plan carpools rides to work. And this is just one example.

Big Data & Algotrading
A fascinating and very advance technological field that can be very useful for terrorists is algotrading. Originally, it was intended for developing algorithms for automatic, fast stock trading. However, this field has already come into use in recent years in the military field for improving real-time decision making processes based on information collected by big data systems.

Similar to a military organization, a terrorist organization can also use these technologies for real-time decision making, whether they are for cyber terrorism or the physical dimension. The ability to collect large amounts of data to be analysed by the algorithm for decision making is not foreign to terrorist organizations. In the same indictment of an Islamic Jihad operative in March 2016, it was revealed the organization wanted to use the information from Israeli traffic cameras and a mobile app for monitoring airplane traffic in order to increase the damage caused by the rockets the organization launches at Israel.

Using algotrading technology, combined with big data, will provide terrorist with the ability to make better decisions in real time and enhance the impact of damage caused by their activities, and the level of fear they spread in the public.

The Main Risks of Cyber Terrorism
To sum up the main risks of terrorism, I will chose to define it as disrupting the routine of life. The political and economic systems operate on the assumption that there is a defined routine which allows stability. If we examine countries that are subject to widespread terrorism, we can observe that they lack stability of those two systems.

From a business point of view, terrorism spreads fear in the consumer public. This fear causes behavioral changes that affect the economic system. That can materialize in effects on the stock market, the consuming habits, long-term financial decisions [such as changes in real estate prices as a result of the frequency of terrorist incidents in a certain location].

From a political point of view, terrorism tries to disrupt the governability of a regime. Political instability also directly affects the economic system both in terms of local consumption, as well as global investments coming into the country.

Critical infrastructures
One of the main risks that cyber terrorism poses is a threat to a country’s critical infrastructures [electricity, water, food, medicine]. Damage to these infrastructures can paralyze a country’s economic system for an extended period of time.

The Financial Sector
Choosing to define the financial sector of a state as a critical infrastructure is a political choice. It terms of the business owner, one should view the financial sector as a critical infrastructure which, when damaged, can have significant impact on businesses.

News outlets in various mediums, social media and publications by thought leaders in various fields should be considered a potential target for cyber terrorist attacks. Through publishing of true or false reporting in cyberspace, and propaganda a terrorist organization can inflict extensive damage to a business in the physical world, causing a change in the consumers’ behaviour.

Another threat I have chosen to add to the list is the electromagnetic pulse or EMP. This is a threat that is not discussed much in the media, but it is relevant to the world of terrorism as well as the cyber sphere. EMP destroys all electronic circuits in the attack zone and effectively destroys all computer systems in that area. It’s a mean of physical DDoS for computer systems.
Recovering from such an attack takes a long time, sometimes months or years. Even though this is a relatively supervised technology, EMP generators in various sizes and shapes can be acquired through organized crime or other terrorist means. This is an extreme scenario, but one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Countering Cyber Terrorism
Coping with cyber terrorism can be divided into two parts: the first is at the nation state level and the second is the business sector level. Much like the physical dimension, threats at the state level cannot and shouldn’t be handled by the business sector. However, the business sector should be aware of the threats, especially those that can affect its business operations.

The business sector should assume it is a target for terrorism since it is part of a wider context, for example – businesses in the state of Israel. In this scenario, Anonymous has targeted Israeli business organizations to try and influence political decisions of the Israeli government.

Cyber terrorism prevention is almost impossible for a business. However, business should include cyber terrorism as part of its threat modelling and prepare to such attacks.

Cyber terrorism is in many ways similar to physical terrorism, this conceptual similarity allows to draw from one dimension to the other. However, there are few main differences. One difference is that it is harder to deter a cyber terrorist organization, one of reasons for this is the problem of assigning responsibility for an attack due to lack of physical (and other) evidence, and when you cannot assign responsibility for a cyber-attack to a specific entity, you cannot punish it, hence no deterrence.

A second difference stems from the fact that cyber terrorism targets the business sector directly. While in the physical dimension the government through its security services has the proper infrastructure to shield the business sector from terrorism, in the cyber sphere the governmental security services are almost none existent and the responsibility for handling cyber terrorism is left with the business owners. This reality forces the organization to be aware of the threats arising from cyber terrorism, and to take the necessary action to defend and recover from it with very little support from the government.

There is no doubt cyber terrorism is a challenge for modern business organizations. The economic connectivity based on the World Wide Web forces business globally to deal with the “butterfly effect” – changes in one place in the world can quickly affect businesses on the other side of the globe, terrorist organizations use this reality to its full.

If credit cards are stolen from a retailer in Europe, and the incident is publicized on the internet, that message goes out to all consumers around the world. This means the sense of security of consumers around to world to shop online is diminished. This behavioral change leads to a drop in proceeds from online transactions thousands of kilometres from the origin of the incident. Cyberspace makes the changes in consumer behaviour into global trends.

The responsibility for dealing with cyber terrorism rests on the shoulders of the business organization. The fact that the government is out of the equation forces the business organization’s executive team to prepare and react to such event which is an additional operational and managerial overhead cost that is added to the daily operation of the business not to mention the potential impact that can be caused due to a cyber-attack on public infrastructures of a nation state.

Ignoring the threat from cyber terrorism threat will not make it go away and would certainly not prevent it. Cyber terrorism is here to stay and will almost certainly toll its price from the business sector.