Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Israel is like the crazy person on a reality TV show

As almost everyone knows, the government of Israel has employed the brilliant strategy of trying to get its citizens to move back a country where gender segregated public busing is tolerated by running a series of ads that tells Israelis that if they don't move home they will imperil their identities as Israelis and Jews.

This is just one of the ads that the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption is running to get Israelis in the U.S. to return to their native country. In addition to implying that American Jewish children don't know about Hanukkah so you better hurry on back, other ads suggest that Americans of the Jewish or non variety can't understand Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) or that your child will call his father "Daddy" but will be unable to learn "abba." Real flattering stuff.

Jeffrey Goldberg over at the Atlantic put it best:

These government-sponsored ads suggest that it is impossible for Jews to remain Jewish in America. How else are we supposed to understand the "Christmas" ad? Obviously, assimilation and intermarriage are issues in America in ways they aren't in Israel. Israel has other problems of course, such as the fact that many of its rabbis act like Iranian mullahs...The message is: Dear American Jews, thank you for lobbying the American defense aid (and what a great show you put on at the AIPAC convention every year!) but, please, stay away from our sons and daughters.
Yes, cause as we all know Judaism disappeared during the Diaspora and was only resurrected in 1948 when the state of Israel was founded after the Zionists discovered it in the Negev like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I can't get too down about all this since it supplies yet another incident for the reality television show The Real Bureaucrats of Jerusalem.

In the last couple of years, Israel (and by that I mean its government) has kind of become like that crazy character on reality television shows--you know, the one who has tantrums, starts fights, pulls someone's hair. The one that makes you think, "Damn, you're crazy." But because they're so crazy, they're also unpredictable, which makes them excellent entertainment in a perverse way. That's what Israel has become to me. One the fake tan bitches in the Real Housewives franchise.

I'm not saying I truly enjoy watching Israeli democracy break down but if I'm going to continue to pay attention to events in the Middle East, I do have to find amusement as well as note frequent injustices. It's either that or cry. The latter is not really an option--I don't wear waterproof mascara.

Oh, and by the way--here's how Americans view Israelis. (Check out this SNL clip from way back featuring Tom Hanks as a Sabra host of the Price is Right.)

And a spoof of the ads (h/t Dov Bear)

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