Icks Factor — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

Dear Bibi,

 illustration by Avi Katz</em
illustration by Avi Katz
When you shunted me off to the national embarrassment portfolio as the last and least of your myriad cabinet ministers, I was at first angry and insulted. Having expected to get a senior office of great public and historical weight, such as the Nostalgia Office or head of the National Task Force for the Depletion of Natural Resources, I was taken aback by the prospect of taking on a new ministry created out of bits and pieces pilfered from so many other government agencies.

But after a month on the job, I now understand the great wisdom you displayed in bringing all your government’s efforts to disgrace our great nation together under a single roof. While your piecemeal efforts to make Israel the laughing-stock of international diplomacy have been effective to a large degree, you are certainly correct in resolving, in your new government, to make shame a national priority.

My first step as minister of national embarrassment has been to embark on a tour of European and North American capitals and Jewish communities to assess just how disgusted our allies and compatriots are with us, and to formulate a master plan for transforming this antipathy into something more akin to loathing. Kudos to you for jump-starting my ministry’s efforts with your election-day message warning against a high voter turnout among Israel’s Arab citizens and your pre-election insult to President Obama in the form of your speech to Congress. These two strokes of genius were cited again and again in each city I visited. Here is a sample of the comments I received:

“Please go away. I do not want to be photographed with you.”
— Gustav Blatt, deputy minister of foreign affairs, European Union
“Does anyone here have any Benadryl?”
— Victoria Glennwood, Lord Chambermaid, Britain
“Could we wait with our chat until my assistant gets back from the hardware store with a ten-foot pole?”
— Sidney Glennblatt, president of Temple X (formerly Temple Israel), Washington, DC

While these expressions of discomfort with my presence and antipathy toward the Jewish state are certainly powerful and convincing, the very fact that world leaders and Jewish communal figures were willing to speak to me is a warning sign that Israel and its government are to some measure still accepted and tolerated around the world. It is time we put an end to that.

With that in mind, I propose the following ten-point program to ensure that Israel attains the status we have so long worked to achieve, that of international pariah:

1. Labeling of Israeli products: The European Union’s initiative to require that the products of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria be specially labeled needs to be countered with a bold move on our part. I propose that all Israeli-made goods not produced entirely by Jews bear a special label reading “Touched by a Goy.” According to my staff’s estimates, more than 90 percent of the country’s produce and manufactured products will qualify.

2. Battling anti-Semitic stereotypes: The best way to counter the ugly caricatures of Jews in publications like Charlie Hebdo is to demonstrate that we Israelis are proud of the very features that the cartoonists seek to vilify. To this end, I propose that all Israelis traveling overseas be required to wear Groucho glasses throughout their trip. Violators will have their passports confiscated and their noses punched in by Mossad agents.

3. African refugees: Israel’s treatment of African refugees has been questionable, but not nearly outrageous enough to alienate many of our Jewish brethren. I propose that all Africans in Israel be sent by airborne convoy to Dulles airport in Washington, DC. Our diplomats will inform the White House that we expect President Obama to welcome these newcomers into his mongrel nation.

4. Jewish identity: Countering assimilation has long been a central goal of our government’s interaction with Jewish communities overseas. Clearly, one problem is that the most important act of initiation into the Jewish community takes place in infancy and is long-forgotten by the teenage years. I call for a campaign to replace the by now jaded and meaningless bar-mitzvah with a Jewish reaffirmation ceremony to be called “One Cut Above.” The slogan will be “Clip your zayin for Zion.” For young women, we may offer a similar augmentation of the traditional nose job.

5. The FIFA challenge: As we have recently seen, the Palestinians’ new line of attack is to ban Israel from international sports organizations. The best defense, as we all know, is an offense. I propose that we unilaterally revise the rules of all major games and competitions as a concrete demonstration of our independence and sovereignty. Our soccer teams should field two goalies; our basketball players should wear platform shoes; and large fans will be affixed to the surfboards of our gold-medal-winning windsurfing team.

6. Leadership: The Diaspora used to be proud of Israel’s leaders. Men and women like David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and Shimon Peres were erudite, intelligent, and eloquent representatives of the Jewish state. We’ve managed to reverse this trend in recent years by putting several top government ministers in jail for corruption and convicting a president on rape charges. Soon a former prime minister will also be locked up. But we still lag behind other countries on this score—no major Israeli leader has yet been convicted of murder or of molesting children. It’s time to put more creeps in the cabinet.

7. Jewish pluralism: Nothing estranges American Jews from Israel more than our country’s discrimination against the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements. But refusing to recognize their marriages, divorces, and conversions is not enough. We must make our message clear: anyone who’s not Orthodox is a bastard. And I mean that in the literal sense. I call for applying the biblical laws of bastardy to all non-standard Jews, ensuring that their descendants, even unto the tenth generation, not be accepted into our holy community.

8. The “Occupation” : The so-called “occupation” of the “West Bank” has long been a central bone of contention between us and the rest of the world. Our claim that the military occupation of Judea and Samaria is vital for our defense has long been belied by our settlement of Israeli civilians in that territory. In fact, some of the most mortifying moments of our foreign policy have been the establishment of new settlements during the visits of foreign dignitaries in Jerusalem. Yet we are treading water in this regard—not since 1982, when the IDF took control of southern Lebanon, have we conquered new territories. The current instability in Syria offers us a golden opportunity to confound our friends and allies by imposing Israeli rule on large new expanses densely populated by Arabs. Who will remember Ramallah when we build a Jewish neighborhood in Damascus?

9. Women’s rights: Equal rights for women is one of the cornerstones of modern democracy. Thankfully, Israel has long demonstrated its disregard for Western values in this regard. True, Karnit Flug is governor of our central bank and Miriam Naor chief justice of our Supreme Court. But let them try to get a divorce without their husband’s consent or their photo in the Shas newspaper and they’ll see where they really rank in our country. If Israel truly wants to set itself apart from the free world it needs treat its women like real trash. How about bleeping out their voices on the nightly news and instituting separate seating in the Knesset?

10. Amending the Declaration: Even as Israeli governments have done their utter best to trample individual rights and discriminate against minorities, liberal Zionists have been able to point to our country’s Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel with pride. Israel’s founding document, they like to say, commits Israel to human rights and equality. Israel, they recite, “will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” Not on your watch, Bibi. It’s high time we excised this left-wing language.

If you adopt my program, Mr. Prime Minister, my Ministry of National Embarrassment will lead our country to pinnacles of disgrace never yet dreamed of. It is time for the state of Israel to live up to the great vision of its prophets: “I will make them a horror … a disgrace and a proverb, a byword and a curse.”


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