23 August 2010

I may keep kosher, but I’m in the mood for Frog Kebab

In this quasi-semi-weekly news roundup: French tourists, begrudgingly agreeing with Tom Friedman, and getting ready for the next Stateside trip

~It’s late summer in Israel which means staying indoors with air-conditioning and away from the tourists. I don’t mean Birthright Israel participants, though there were a few close moments where I almost side-checked a few standing idly in the middle of the shuk; no, this time I’m referring to the typical late-summer tourist in Israel – the French Jew. I’m doing my best to be tolerant towards all types, especially being the month before the High Holy Days, but there’s only so much American patience I can muster before hordes of cordovan-skinned screaming parents with equally screaming kids who assume every and any store will haggle over a marked price. My all-time favorite is when, upon breaking their teeth over English, they point to one of their eyes to begin a declarative sentence with “I am looking for....”

This has nothing to do with the ethnic origins of the majority of the French tourists, nor of being French citizens or Francophones per se; but combining government-mandated vacations with the ongoing Diaspora-Israel conflict leads to a level of self-entitlement that even American Jews couldn’t muster out of embarrassment. This article, besides being written by a Tel Avivcentric writer who clearly hasn’t been witness to the onslaught of the Gallic hordes in Jerusalem, paints these tourists in an unflatteringly positive light. I’m all for Diaspora Jews drawing closer and more complicated ties with Israel and vice versa (a trait long lost on this guy), but acting out the worst of Israeli stereotypes on a minute-by-minute basis in perforated Hebrew or English (or simply speaking in French loudly and slowly) doesn’t bode well for my growing taste for frog kebab.

~Because enough people haven't weighed in on the Muslim center to be built in lower mnahattan, here comes another voice: The problem with Ground Zero is neither this planned mosque, nor the strip clubs already in existence; it's the fact that nine years later, there is still a huge, gaping hole in the ground. There's been no post-pigua type collective closure, when the sad music on the radio stops, the memorial plaques go up, and stores re-open because we don't surrender to terrorism -- instead we've filled the hole with two wars and a Patriot Act stil in existence. Till then, when the hole's filled with a new building and we're able to think in nuances again, we're gonna have to endure Americans' ongoing love-hate relationship with their own xenophobia & racism, as well as a gluttony of talking heads. Even Tom Friedman, in his latest Op-Ed, begrudgingly agrees with me to a point.

I'm back in the States starting Thursday for a four city tour, two weddings, and a long stopover in Madrid, with perhaps some writing in between it all.

03 August 2010

Launch of My Own News Reader Roundup

I consume enough news, Op-Eds, style blogs and music to fill my own blog....oh wait, I do have a blog. In the course of job hunting and spilling over with things to say, I present you with the inaugural and semi-weekly roundup of news and homespun commentary. Sarcastic title TBD.

-JTA reports that increasing numbers of right-wing MK's are in favor of a one-state solution. Seems to have  the same problem of those who say "all of Israel's problems are a result of the Occupation" -- they're completely wrong. It still won't solve increasing racism and inter-ethnic discrimination; leaves Law of Return and democratic representation hanging way too high in the air; doesn't solve increasingly poorer distribution of natural resources (blackout in Rehavia, anyone?); and continues to assume North American Jews will some day make Aliyah en masse to fill the demographic difference, despite the growing existential chasm between Diaspora and Israel. I'm not holding my breath to be back in Tulkarm.

-Jewcy Magazine tweeted "A Jew's Primer to Krautrock and Beyond." Maybe it's the 140 characters or the highschool music "been there, heard that" snob in me, but this otherwise-thorough list comes off just as holier-than-thou as this blog post. Not to mention, chances are if you're reading Jewcy and subscribing to their Twitter feed, you probably know the relationship between the genre and David Bowie's "Low" album. If you really want to educate your supposedly xenophobic readership, create a primer for the Arab music they listen to while smoking hookas in East Village bars.

-It's hot outside, really hot outside, so naturally it's time to let off some steam by trying to provoke an international war (caution -- article is in Hebrew!). While the UN-mandated patrol had the gall not to justify the Lebanese Army's heat-induced first shots, and in the first 12 hours of the event no less, the latter hands-down wins the ongoing debate over the better version of the Mediterranean English hit "Do You Love Me?": The Bendaly Family circa 1978 or their neighbor, slightly visible from the coastline, Sarit Haddad?

-If you haven't read this Statement of Principles yet, stop reading this noxious post and read it now. The first Op-Ed I wrote for my highschool newspaper was about the hypocrisy of Jewish students' intolerance towards homosexuals. 13 years later, a must-read breakthrough gets published, in English and Hebrew. I wish I really could back up such a connection, but clearly a lot of time and care went into this declaration and deserves to be praised.