Comedian | Professor | Writer
(& Smartest) Arab
Helen, don’t you know that you can’t say the Jews should get the hell out of Palestine? Don’t you know it’s not even called Palestine? Don’t you know that there never was a Palestine?
Don’t you know you can’t talk about the extreme bias in American media in favor of Israel? Don’t you know there is no bias? Don’t you know that Israel shares our American values?
Don’t you know you can’t piss off the pro-Israel lobbies by speaking of Israeli aggression, law breaking, discrimination, bullying, lying, manipulation, collective punishment, indiscriminate killing, dispossession, illegal land grabbing, occupation, and apartheid?
Well, maybe you didn’t bring all those things up, but it sure seems like it.
You would think, after working all those years in Washington, that you would know what you can say and what you can’t. But then again, maybe that’s why you did it. Maybe you just got sick of it all, and when that guy shoved that camera in your face, you just thought to yourself, “Screw it, I’ll just say the Jews should get the hell out of Palestine.”
The constant browbeating had finally been enough. Murmurs in the White House press corps that you were a Hizbollah operative, or a Hamas informant, had finally gotten to you. The idea that an Arab was even lucky to be there finally became inbearable.
See, as you know Helen, we Arab-Americans, and Palestinians especially, usually need to ask permission to tell our story. The Palestinian narrative can never be introduced without an opposing Israeli view, in order to be “fair.” Of course, pro-Israeli views are often broadcast without any such need for rebuttal. The baseline assumption is that the Palestinian narrative is biased, in need of the Israelis to balance it out. The Israeli narrative, on the other hand, is fully respectful of the truth.
Never mind that pro-Israeli advocates are Picasso-esque in their artistry of lying. Sometimes it looks like a lie, sometimes it doesn’t, but it always is. And even when it’s obvious, it still works. I remember always seeing them on the Sunday talk shows. The Israeli guy would say, “The Palestinians attacked us first.” And the Palestinian guy would yell, “You’re lying!!” And the Israeli guy would calmly respond, “Yes, but let me finish.”
Helen, on December 2 in Dearborn, Michigan, you said, “Congress, the White House, Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists.”
People got upset and Wayne State discontinued an award in your name. They said you were anti-Semitic. For saying Jews own all the important stuff? As Arabs, we don’t get the anger. If someone said we owned those things, we’d take the credit. Or at least we’d say, “Well we don’t own it yet, but we’re working on it.”
I don’t know if all those things are owned by Zionists, but it sure does seem like it.
If you mean that Congress is pro-Zionist, you might have a point. $160 billion in foreign aid to Israel does seem pretty lovey-dovey.
If you mean the White House is pro-Zionist, I can see where you’re coming from. Visits by American presidential candidates to Israeli towns as part of their routine campaign stops does seem kind of cuddly-cuddly.
If you mean Hollywood is pro-Zionist, you’re totally right. True
And Wall Street? I don’t know about that one. Unless you put it in terms of gas and cigarette prices, most of us will never understand that place. But if you say it’s pro-Zionist, I’ll go with it.
But Helen, you have to be careful. Pro-Israel advocates equate criticism (or sometimes mere talk) of Zionism with racism against Jews. Zionism equals Judaism, they say. Sure, it doesn’t seem to make sense, but it sure does work. Even we Arabs have become victims of this distorted rationalization, turning into schizophrenics whenever anyone asks us how we feel.
Do you hate Jews? OF COURSE NOT!
Do you like Jews? OF COURSE NOT!
But you almost make it sound like the Zionists control everything. It seems preposterous, although I do remember being in Ramallah, getting lost, pressing home on my GPS machine, then hearing Benjamin Netanyahu’s voice say, “You no longer live in that house anymore.”
But Helen, can you really blame the White House and Congress for being so blatantly pro-Israel? They know they need to tow the Israeli line, or else they’ll end up like you, being the ones who need to get the hell out.