How To Feel Awkward

[tweetmeme] After the disaster in Haiti, Israel sent lots of aid and set up a field hospital that was lauded internationally and, perhaps more, within Israel for its efforts.  The Israeli efforts were deemed proof of Israel’s moral superiority.  Philip Weiss shares a video from an Israeli TV show that mocks the national pride that was felt in Israel after the disaster:

Below is a skit from “A Wonderful Country,” the Israeli TV comedy show that’s been applauded in the US, mocking Israel’s effort to resuscitate its image post-Gaza by helping Haiti. It’s funny and dark (and shows that our posts on this issue have been legit). The best line is when a comic playing Israeli military correspondent Roni Daniel says that many Haitians have told him it was worth going through the earthquake just to meet the wonderful soldiers from the IDF. Still it weirds me out. The skit ends with a (too-long) bit involving a Haitian in the rubble. The Haitian is played by an Israeli in black-face (you can tell cause his arm is visible). I dont know. It’s a little cringe-making.

It underlines a horrifying fact, and yes I know this is an anti-semitic canard, but: Israel and the U.S. are different societies, with different understandings of minority rights. A couple months back, a friend told me, “Obama is routinely referred to as a Cushi by Israelis…it’s non stop. We should make a big deal about this word. In the US it would never be used as routinely or casually.” Cushi seems to be in between schwartzer and the n-word, not very nice.

Weiss titled his post “I laughed and then it felt weird.”  He was spot on.  It is a funny video, but, at the same time is just too soon.  Although it makes light of the situation in Haiti, it does reveal some things about the way life is in Israel.

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