Alan Dershowitz Has a Solution
Israel newspaper Haaretz reports that a package has recently arrived at Netanyahu’s office with a sender’s address of no other than Professor Alan M. Dershowitz, known to most people as Israel’s #1 apologist in the United States. The package reportedly contained a DVD with Mr. Dershowitz’s favorite episode of HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, named “The Palestinian Chicken”. Enclosed was a note by said professor, urging Netanyahu to invite Mahmoud Abbas to watch that episode and share some laughs together (I could not make this up). Mr. Dershowitz apparently believes that Jewish comedy is the panacea for the Middle East ills and that Larry David will be a Nobel Peace Prize candidate for solving the Israel – Palestinian conflict using his comedic genius.
A good part of this episode can be viewed at the embedded video at the end of this post.
In this episode, Larry discovers a Palestinian restaurant serving “the best chicken he ever tasted”. He and his friend enter what they consider hostile territory to behold the marvel. After a few lame jokes about Palestinians’ hostility to Jews, Larry confides with his friend that it would be exciting to date someone who not only doesn’t like him but who “doesn’t even recognize his right to exist”. Using his sophisticated brand of comedy for HBO audiences, Mr. David avoids the crass cliche of a mustachioed dark skinned middle Eastern man wearing a turban and strapped to a bomb and instead chooses an attractive young Palestinian damsel as the face of Palestine. This caricature of a Palestinian does not sport a swastika on her forehead or don S.S uniform – no, that would be Mel Brooks type of comedy. However, in Larry David’s subtle comedy it quickly becomes clear that the Palestinian beauty is a foul mouthed vulgar antisemite who hates Jews for being Jews, who would rather see all Jews dead, who is sexually promiscuous and a psycho who curses and yells racial slurs at Mr. David while having sex with him.
And this is the hilarious humor that the distinguished professor believes will bring hearts together and solve the Israel Palestinian conflict. I wonder how well received in Brooklyn would be a German comedy depicting a Jewish woman sleeping with a German neo-nazi while yelling at him “I will screw you like your grandpa did to my grandma in Auschwitz”. That will surely make the crowds roar. But trivializing the crimes against Palestinians has now become a second nature and an integral part of Israeli Hasbara. After all, the Jews claim the exclusive victim title and cannot see or empathize with other people’s sufferings. For Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank the occupation is not just a fancy dictionary word. What in far away New York is viewed as comedy material has day to day implications for the ordinary Palestinian and not a single Palestinian family has escaped the heavy hand of Israel’s oppression machine. Mr. David’s hipster comedy trivializes human rights abuses, dispossession and oppression and belittles the sufferings of others by reducing the issue to a simplistic narrative of antisemitism and irrational hostility against jolly good fella Jews by genocidal maniacs.
But don’t get me wrong. Mr. Larry David is not an Arab hater or a propagandist in disguise who receives a million Shekels from Israel’s Hasbara Ministry for each episode where he demonizes Palestinians under the guise of a high-browed comedy. Mr. David is just a reflection of the American Jewish psyche and their shallow view of the conflict: that Palestinians are antisemitic genocidal maniacs and Jews are innocent victims defending themselves against people who don’t even recognize their right to breath. From the comfort of their homes in Miami and Brooklyn, the occupation and oppression of Palestinians is invisible. There is little wonder then that in Mr. Dershowitz mind and in his detached view, the solution to the conflict is to cure that inbred Palestinian antisemitism (“they teach their kids to hate Jews” is the common mantra preached by their Israeli cohorts) and what better way to do it than to have Abbas watch his favorite American Jewish comedy. Dershowitz’s belief that Mr. Abbas would find this episode even remotely entertaining is a testament to the complete detachment of American Jewry from the reality of the situation. Palestinians simply don’t see their sufferings and oppression as comedy fodder.
Even more disturbing is the view that David, Dershowitz & Co. promote from their podiums of two groups of people locked in a cycle of hatred which can be diffused by watching some good old comedy shows and eating Humous together. Indeed, there is no shortage of hatred amongst Palestinians and Jews, but by painting a picture of two sides equally responsible for the situation, Mr. Dershowitz whitewashes Israel’s Apartheid policy and oppression of the Palestinians. By holding both the rape victim and the rapist as equally accountable, Mr. Dershowitz helps perpetuate a distorted view and lays the blame on the victim. By supporting the fraudulent peace process and endless negotiations, he absolves himself of the need to fight for Palestinian rights and to call on Israel to end its Apartheid regime, much like he and his friends did in the 60’s with regards to the black civil rights movement.
Mr. Dershowitz, if you are reading this, the Palestinians don’t need your brand of comedy. Sure they would love some day to sit together with you and watch your favorite tv shows and eat humous together. What they do need is people like yourself to denounce Israel’s policy and to remove their support until Israel complies with international law and the Geneva Convention, something which you surely must have heard about as a Law Professor. There is no need to diffuse what you consider the inbred Palestinian antisemitism and hostility, but to remove the root cause of it, which you and your fellow American Jews so aptly ignore. They would invite you to live for one month in Gaza ghetto amidst the ruins of some bombed out neighborhood along with the made-in-Israel impoverished refugees who subsist on UN supplied food, perhaps then you would shed your tribal affiliation and realize that these are not exactly the circumstances which call for your great Jewish humor.
But Larry David’s sense of humor and his typical Jewish world view would bear little consequence if it wasn’t for American Jewry, led by the likes of Mr. Dershowitz, whose steadfast support for Israel and their stranglehold on American policy in the Middle East, which enables these crimes and abuses to continue unabated for decades. As far as Mr. Dershowitz and his ilk are concerned, Palestinians simply don’t get their Jewish humor.