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Sunday, January 10, 2010

They would never go after the Left like this

Israel has a 'comedy' show called Eretz Nehederet (Beautiful Land), which is on Friday nights (of course, when much of the Right and all of the religious population cannot watch it). The show is a satire and often hits some very touchy subjects. Ten days ago, it hit a very touchy subject. This was called "The Next War."

Let's go to the videotape (Hebrew only followed by an explanation in English for those who don't get the Hebrew).

And here's an explanation of what you've just seen.
The skit shows IDF officers watching a "proof of life" tape of a kidnapped soldier. As the camera scrolls, the audience sees a soldier, buzz cut, clean-shaven, and painfully reminiscent of Gilad Schalit. As in the Schalit tape, the soldier begins by identifying himself and his family, then offering up reassurance that his captors are treating him well and that he's unhurt and well fed - with kosher food, in fact. The soldier then holds up the day's Makor Rishon newspaper - an Orthodox paper, as opposed to a Palestinian paper in the Schalit video.

The camera pans out and the audience begins to understand that the soldier's kidnappers are not Hamas or Hizbullah as one might expect, but rather West Bank settlers. Complete with beards, payot and kippot, the settlers begin to list their demands for the release of the soldier - an end to the settlement freeze, amnesty for attacks against police, the creation of preferential expansion zones for settlements and so on. Upon realizing all their demands have already been met, they change course and demand that a popular Orthodox anchorwoman be featured in the racy men's magazine, Blazer, with her elbows showing.

The two IDF officers watching the tape, who appear to be the ones responsible for negotiating the soldier's release, get distracted by the alarm signaling the end of the work day and head out to yoga class, without a care in the world.
As you might imagine, a lot of people on the right were quite upset about this tape. Here's an Army Radio interview with one of them.

Let's go to the videotape (Hebrew only with explanation to follow).

What you've just heard is an Army Radio story on an Education Committee meeting that took place regarding this show and it's followed by an interview with Ketzeleh (Yaakov Katz, the leader of the National Union party). Here's what he said in the Education Committee (from JPost):
In a televised Knesset Education Committee meeting, MK Ya'akov Katz (National Union) furiously denounced the show's depiction of settlers and the religious as harboring intentions to harm soldiers.

"I, as someone who served as a soldier and officer in the IDF, and lost a leg, was portrayed as someone who harms soldiers, and my children, who all serve in [some of the best IDF units] have to stand by and watch their father be portrayed as someone who shoots soldiers," he said.

Katz further condemned the program by comparing the show's antics to the Nazi tactic of first demonizing, then exterminating Jews. Add the fact that Eretz Nehederet airs on Friday nights, when the members of this particular community wouldn't be able to watch anyway, and Katz seemed to imply that it is part of some elaborate, secular plan to turn the country against the settlers for subsequent expulsion.
In the Army Radio segment, host Razi Bark'ai complains that Ketzeleh made a mistake by accusing the show of anti-Semitism, but Ketzeleh holds his ground, claims that the show has an agenda and that agenda is paving the way to expel all the Jews from Judea and Samaria. Bark'ai claims that the show has also roasted Ehud Barak, but Ketzeleh said it never put a gun in Barak's hand pointed at Jews. Ketzeleh believes that the older man in the video was meant to be him.

The JPost believes that the people who should be offended by the show are Shalit's family and supporters.
WHAT KATZ and some in the religious Right may have failed to recognize is that this particular Eretz Nehederet skit upset a much larger audience beyond those who support the settlement movement. More than anything, it was extremely difficult to watch the mockery of Gilad Schalit's kidnapping, and the painful debate over the conditions for his release that have divided the country. What the Schalit family must have been thinking...
I disagree. There is plenty there to offend the Right.

The Post goes on to compare the segment to the New Yorker cover from 2008 featuring Barack and Michelle Obama.

Is there a limit to satire? In this country, good taste is not a limit. Anything goes - so long as the side being roasted is the Right and not the Left. You won't find them roasting the Left or the Arabs the same way.

Read the whole thing. Be civil in the comments or you won't get through.


At 3:21 PM, Blogger Mr. Gerson said...

I have heard of this, but it's the first time I saw the video - it is disturbing - the newspaper and everything.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its not funny at all. Its an effort to smear the national Religious community and it has nothing to do with the debate over the revanants. Its just character assassination and yes - there should be limits to satire.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

There is no limit to satire, it is part of freedom - however I find it disgusting. Consumers should register their complaints and pull advertising funding away from any channel that does this sort of thing.


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