Disagreeing with the boss – twice!


Ami notes, below, my reflection on the significance of Jon Stewart’s Israel coverage piece, saying I have a different take. Not so much different, really.  I don’t think one satirical swipe means much in of itself, but I do think it is significant that it’s normative – even unremarkable – that a Jewish comedian should take down Israel’s Jewish defenders.

Our disagreement on Israel TV’s BBC parody, though, is of gulf-like dimensions. I’ve watched it three times and laughed out loud each time.

Partly because it replicates a story an Arabic-speaking American journalist told me about 15 years ago. A party of journalists met a Palestinian farmer at a Gaza roadblock. They asked him how he was dealing with a recent expansion of such checkpoints, occasioned by a spike in attacks on Israeli soldiers. They asked a local stringer for one of the news agencies to translate. The stringer did not realized my friend could speak Arabic, so "Well, this morning, instead of taking the southern road, I walked about the western path" became something like "We Palestinians are resilient and will not be cowed by Rabin’s aggression!" (The stringer was soon exposed as a Hamas flack and sacked, which is why I’m not  embarrassing his employer by publishing his name.)

But also because I miss the middle-southern European absurdist humor that Israelis do so well: A dragon? Israel’s "national dish?" Come on! It’s golden.

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