Diplomacy By Other Means–“Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

To: His Excellency President Rufus T. Firefly
From: His Notsogoodency Haim Watzman, Freedonian Ambassador to Israel

As you will recall from my earlier report, this morning I was summoned urgently to the foreign ministry in The Capital That Must Not Be Named. (As you know, the ministry is actually located in Jerusalem, but in accordance with international diplomatic custom we do not acknowledge this.) I knew from news reports that the summons was with regard to the screening, in Freedonian movie theaters, of a film portraying four members of the Jewish race as bumbling idiots who foment world war. We understood through diplomatic channels that Deputy Foreign Minister Canny Babylon’s superior, Foreign Minister Avigor Tuberman, was especially incensed by the fact that one of the said Jews was portrayed as speaking with an Italian accent rather than a realistic Russian one.

illustration by Avi Katz

You may have heard that Mr. Babylon has, in his brief tenure, developed his own unique and sophisticated diplomatic tactics that have brought many ambassadors to their knees. But, President Firefly, you need not fear — as a seasoned and senior member of our country’s foreign service, I was prepared. I was determined to stand up to this baboon-faced flunky and defend the honor of Freedonia.

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My Day in Loyalty Court–“Necessary Stories” column, Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman “What number you got?” asked the puffy-eyed guy sitting in the metal chair next to me. He hadn’t shaved in two days, from the looks of it; his clothes were stained and his breath bad. Blue and white stripes flashed across the LCD screen hanging on the far wall of the Ministry of … Read more

Understanding Lieberman’s Voters

Haim Watzman

Why do I really dislike Avigdor Lieberman? Because he’s forcing me to write about politics. When Gershom and I started this blog, I thought he’d take the political beat and leave me free to write about my country’s diverse and exciting culture and literature. But who can concentrate on books when the wolves are howling at the door?

A couple days before the election I had a long conversation with a young Palestinian-Israeli woman I often see at my favorite South Jerusalem café, The Coffee Mill. Like me, she was in despair over the likely results of the impending election, although unlike me, she wasn’t planning to vote.

I told her something that I’m afraid may shock some of SoJo’s readers, those who seem to measure us by the extent to which we conform to left-wing clichés. I told her that the Israelis who voted for Lieberman and his party aren’t evil people.

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Drawing the Line

Haim Watzman The sad story about the election Israel will hold tomorrow is that, no matter what the precise results, the balance of power will be held by a group of legislators contemptuous of the principles of democracy. Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party seems almost certain to become the country’s third largest parliamentary faction and, … Read more