Friday, January 14, 2011

The Power of Words, The Weakness of Context: Offended for Nothing

I will start with a short confession: I am not a fan of Dire Straits’ hit song “Money for Nothing” (1985, from the album “Brothers in Arms”). In fact, I would not consider myself a huge Dire Straits fan at all; Mark Knopfler’s later work—his solo career—speaks much better to me. I would further dare to say that, while my playlists play along, the brilliant nasally Gibson Les-Paul tone strumming that G5 chord at the beginning of Money for Nothing is, more often than not, countered by an instinctive hit on my BlackBerry’s “next” button.

Yet, if there was one moment in my last eight years of Canadian residency which made my brain yank a silent, yet thunderous “WTF”, it was in the morning of January 13, when the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC)—a council that practically rules what can be played on public radio and what cannot—ruled that Money for Nothing—in its original studio version—cannot be played throughout the country’s countless radio stations which are, by vast majority, bound by CBSC rulings.

My initial response to this entire matter was of extreme disgust, blended with a fair bit of concern. The reason had very little to do with myself being a fan of Knopfler’s music; instead, it has a lot to do with myself being a citizen of that wonderful North American country. I was not born here—my being Canadian amounts to approximately 25% of my life so far—yet I feel an unprecedented urge to voice my opinion about what I consider nothing less than an extreme manifestation of hypocrisy and tasteless political correctness.

It did not take long before Canadian and worldwide media started rambling on and on about that ruling, objecting to it from an endless range of angles. Name a Canadian newspaper (available online) which did not write about it, and I’ll show you a newspaper who nobody really reads. The response was overwhelming.

Unfortunately, though, many of the articles I had read ended up missing the point, focusing on symptoms and circumstances rather than on the underlying problems themselves. Even sadder was to realize how pathetic and useless was CHOZ-FM’s—the Newfoundland-based radio station who originally received the complaint—response to that very complaint (see

The “25 Years” Argument

There was virtually no news article, about the subject, that did not mention the fact that it has been 25 years (time flies, huh?) since the song first burst into the airwaves, implying that the long time that had passed since then serve as any sort of reason to “validate” it.

Pardon my apparent ignorance, folks, but I’m not buying it. Elapsed time has nothing to do with it; if something is morally and profoundly wrong, its existence for 25 years doesn’t serve—in my opinion—as an excuse to validate it. True, it makes some sort of superficial sense but yet it contributes very little for invalidating the basis of the ruling.

For those who think that this argument can hold water, please answer this: what is your “cut-off” line? If 25 years make an immoral thing moral, how about 24? 23? 12? 9? Can you quantify it?

The “Awards” Argument

“Money for Nothing” has its share of awards (although a few of the awards mentioned by the radio station, in response to the complaint, were not awarded to “Money for Nothing” but instead to the album in which it was included, “Brothers in Arms”. Good job, CHOZ-FM). That song was a milestone in many aspects, and truly deserves the awards and worldwide attention that it had received—and, mind you, back then in 1985, receiving worldwide attention was much harder than it is nowadays.

However, does this fact really matter? Unless the song was awarded “1985 Gay-Friendliest Song”, the awards it had received imply nothing about its “Gay-Tolerance”. Awards are given by various organizations and associations, and are given based on specific, pre-determined criteria—often, not necessarily on a democratic basis.

Therefore, I consider this argument just as weak as the “25 Years” argument.

The “One Complaint” Argument

Another argument that many articles bothered to tout was the fact that it was one complaint by one listener that ended up binding countless radio stations—implying that, essentially, one individual has caused grief to millions.

This argument also doesn’t “hold”, sorry. Accepting such an argument would imply that:

  • A complaint filed by one individual should not be judged, evaluated and / or taken with the same amount of seriousness as a complaint filed by 5, 10 or 15 people.

    True, the more complaints are received, the better the “hint” to the deciding entity that something’s really wrong here, but when that same deciding entity comes to evaluate a complaint, the number of complainants should not matter in the slightest.
  • The fact that one person complained, implies very little about the number of listeners who are actually concerned with the issue. When a few same-sex rights organizations (say, EGALEEquality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere) were asked about this ban, they agreed with the ruling.

One newspaper—a prominent one, I should add—had an article about the issue, focusing entirely on this argument alone. Claiming, basically, “Is that really all it takes? One complaint?”. YES. One complaint should be enough.


I think that, when approaching this latest CBSC ruling, dealing with “Money for Nothing” specifically is useless because, really, the ban of “Money for Nothing” is not the problem but a symptom. Fighting the decision to ban “Money for Nothing”, while focusing on the ongoing meaning of the word “faggot” and the various awards that the song had received, may make “Money for Nothing” be played again on the radio (very remotely possible) but wouldn’t really solve the underlying foundations on which this ban was based—and, undoubtedly, more bans will be based in the future.

Three examples:

CBSC’s Mandate

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC; Wikipedia: is an independent, non-governmental organization.

Read that again: Independent. Non-governmental. Read the organization’s name: Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

There is no law in Canada that forbids radio stations from airing the word “faggot” anywhere.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is another Canadian entity, regulating telecommunications in Canada in general. Often, you would find the CRTC annoying Canada’s Internet users with all sorts of insanely-obnoxious rulings such as the “ingenious” idea to allow Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to charge Internet subscribers based on bandwidth. Take my word for it folks; the CRTC isn’t the most adored governmental (yes, this one is governmental) entity in the Canadian landscape.

The CBSC has received the CRTC’s blessing for self-governance. What does it mean? Well, in layman terms, the CRTC felt like it would be a great idea to let private Canadian broadcasters to regulate themselves—make up their own rules, enforce them and so forth. The CBSC is comprised of representatives of the broadcasters themselves.

Once the CBSC rules something, that ruling cannot be appealed with the CBSC; that’s where the CRTC gets involved, as if “hey, that CBSC monster you had created is making no sense at all; please kick its arse”. All CBSC members are bound by its rulings, as long as they are members.

It begs the question, then: If the CBSC is a non-governmental entity, and is comprised of representatives of radio/television stations that are its members, then what’s the big problem? The answer: the vast majority of Canada’s radio stations are members of the CBSC. They don’t have to be; but they are. That is because the CBSC does provide at least some useful services and guidelines that, for most purposes, make sense. In other words: it is not an entirely useless entity.

That fuels the following argument: It should be possible for Canadian radio stations to exist and succeed in the Canadian radio landscape without being members of the CBSC. Simple as that. In other words: if there is no Canadian law prohibiting the airing of the word “faggot”, then Canadian radio stations should be able to exist and function even if they air that word repeatedly (now how is that for a business plan).

An additional argument that can be drawn is this: CBSC’s process of handling content-oriented complaints must be revamped, in a way that will allow greater influence by CBSC member stations, perhaps even in a democratic way. Having a handful of people, in a self-regulating entity, make decisions that (practically) impact 32,000,000 people is outright nonsense.

Disconnecting Words from Contexts: Promoting Ignorance, Narrow Mindedness and Intolerance

A short glance south of the border for a minute: in the USA, a new edition of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (first published in 1884) has been published by NewSouth Books, with the word “nigger” replaced by the word “slave” and the word “injun” (referring to the red shade of Native Americans’ skin) omitted altogether.

Back north: “Money for Nothing” is required by the CBSC to be altered, in order to replace one word that carries negative connotations.

There is a rather distressing common factor for the two cases: individual words have been disconnected from their context, and sacrificed on the holy, now-trendy altar of political correctness. And that, folks, smells bad.

One source for the stench is that this practice takes the “easy way out”; it is much easier to erase the words “faggot”, “nigger” and “injun” from wholesome artistic creations than to educate people what those words meant in the context in which they were used. Pardon my (perhaps too evident) elitism and arrogance, but I consider this very practice to be extremely intolerant.

Is it really too much for me to expect fellow Canadians to be a bit deeper than the span of individual words? What good is political correctness, if it comes in the price of ignorance and narrow-mindedness?

Would I be wrong if I said that, when you base policies on the expectation that people are ignorant, you are not going to get far better results than your expectations?

To illustrate the second reason for why this practice smells so bad, a short look east, to the UK: very recently, “Pink Floyd” were convinced to agree for individual tracks from their albums to be sold “a-la-carte”, rather than forcing digital music buyers into buying the entire enclosing album. For years, the band’s stand has been that their albums’ value lies not within the individual tracks but rather within the album as a whole. If you find this last sentence tricky to understand, pop “Dark Side of the Moon” into your CD player and listen to it, start to finish. Repeat until you get the point; eventually, you will.

One of the beautiful things about art is that it is open for interpretation (I should mention that, for Knopfler, understanding this trait is paramount to understanding what art is all about. Should you ever wish to see a frustrated Knopfler, ask him to explain his songs to you. May I suggest you start with, say, “Tunnel of Love”). The interpretation of art is a subjective, not to say intimate, process, and involves a wide range of factors.

For art to “move” you, it has to… “move” you. This can be done in all sorts of ways: lyrics-wise, for example, the sound of the word “faggot” may make you laugh, or maybe feel sorry for the character portrayed in a song/poem; tone-wise, the opening B flat cry of Knopfler’s Gibson Les-Paul in “So Far from the Clyde” may either annoy you or—such as in my case—punch a hole right through your soul.

Is one factor, or element, more important than another? Absolutely nonsense.

To get art, you need to absorb it. To get an artistic creation, you need to absorb all of it, upon all its ingredients—before you make a judgement, let alone when your judgement affects millions of people. Is it really that much to ask?

Does the Ruling Effectively Protect Canada’s Gay Population?

The complaint filed against CHOZ-FM for “Money for Nothing” was based on the premise that the inclusion of the word “faggot” implies, and encourages, intolerance towards gays. The CBSC, when pondering upon this seemingly-simple premise, failed to consider yet another aspect of the complaint: does accepting the complaint really achieve the objective of protecting Canada’s gay population?

Canada is one of the world’s most gay-friendly nations, if not the friendlier of them all (sorry, erase that; as a heterosexual, I may not be very up-to-date but something tells me that The Netherlands rightfully deserves that title). Significant progress has been made over the last decade or two with respect to the acceptance of homosexuality in Canada—in virtually all aspects.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005 when the country’s Civil Marriage Act was enacted, making Canada the fourth nation in the world, and the first in the Americas, to give people the complete freedom over choosing who they want to get married with. There is not even one single law that discriminates people based on their sexual orientation, period.

Discrimination against homosexuals—whenever manifested (which is very rare)—is extremely frowned upon, deprecated and, when applicable, ends up in the courts. In a sense, this is another example of Canadian mentality: live happily and let me live happily. After all, this is one of the major reasons why Canada is such a great place to live in—you don’t have to be ashamed in who you are, what you are, where you came from. Harmony actually works here.

But just like everything else in life, balance is key. Sometimes, overdoing something does not result in wasting resources, but is also counterproductive altogether.

The CBSC had to ask themselves this: in the current Canadian landscape, given the great achievements Canada has had with the acceptance of same-sex preferences in all aspects, does the usage of the word “faggot” in a song really endangers gay people’s stand in the Canadian society, to the point that it is worth limiting free speech for?

Not only the CBSC should have asked themselves this question, but their ruling ought to have been clear on why they answered the way they did.

Something tells me they did neither; and by doing neither, they actually ended up inflicting damage to the general public’s opinion about gay people—of course, not without the help of organizations such as EGALE who couldn’t afford missing the opportunity to make things even worse.

Judging by the literally hundreds of opinions and comments I had read concerning the subject, I can’t avoid noticing: Canadians, who pride themselves on being tolerant, calm and polite, appear to have been insulted by the ruling, as if saying “hey, come on now; I care not what anybody’s sexual preference is, and claiming that Canada’s gay population is still discriminated against and should be protected even for the price of freedom of speech is absolute and utter nonsense”.


January 15, around 4:30am. I should get some sleep now. Today is, after all, my birthday.

Until the next time around,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Israeliving (Part 2 of ?): Religion

At the last post’s conclusion, I wrote that the next article (that is, this one) is going to be about Israeli politics. Then I realized that, in order to deliver my point about politics here, a few other topics have to be covered first; and what’s a better way to continue than touching a subject that is by far the one I am most frequently asked about: Religion.

Background: A “Jewish, Democratic State”

The state of Israel has been established in 1948 as a (quoting from the Declaration of Independence) “Jewish, Democratic State”. That seemingly-contradictory combination of “Jewish, Democratic” (if this is a Jewish state, how can it be democratic from the perspective of the non-Jewish people who live there? and vice versa) is the source of one of Israel’s most controversial debates ever since its establishment; we will discuss it later in an article about politics. For now, suffice to say that Israel has been established as the home for the Jewish people.

The rationale behind it was simple: unlike many other ethnical groups in the world, Jewish people weren’t always the coolest, most accepted people around, to say the least. Who hasn’t ruled / killed us before? Everybody did. Christians, Muslims, Ottomans, Romans… Name an empire (or a large-scale religion)—it has ruled Jewish people before and, more often than not, didn’t really “let us be”. The last straw (well, not really a straw; more like a gigantic haystack) took place during World War 2 when 6,000,000 Jewish people—at that time, one third (!) of the world’s Jewish population—has vanished courtesy of the Nazis and their allies, for the sole reason of them being Jewish.

At some point, Jewish people just yanked a very loud “WTF”; perhaps it’s just about time that the world just let Jewish people be, live their own lives, believe in whatever God they believe in without being harassed (at best) or killed (at worst). The story of the establishment of the state, along with the wars that followed, can easily (and does) fill up encyclopaedias; in 1948, following a vote in the United Nations, Israel was born… as a Jewish, Democratic State.

Judaism is a monotheistic religion, meaning that it consists of believing in exactly one entity that rules the universe, lets call it God. Jesus Christ was himself Jewish; if you ask yourself, then, how come Christianity and Judaism are so different, then here it is—Christians believe that Jesus Christ was a great prophet and a messenger of God, while Jewish people believe that he was merely another Jewish person with all sorts of new-age ideas who decided to start his own following (Judaism asserts that Moses was the last “great prophet”). What Christians actually call “The Old Testament” is precisely what Jewish people call “The Holy Bible”; “The New Testament” does not negate The Old Testament but rather complements it with additional stories / beliefs / values that Jesus’ followers decided to believe in.

(Does this difference justify killing millions of people worldwide based on their religion? Believe it or not, a few horrible people believed that yes, it does)

Who is a Jew?

So who is a Jew? How is an individual being Jewish determined? Now how about that for an existential debate. You may be shocked to learn how controversial this issue is (—so controversial that Judaism is divided within itself on that question.

There are two ways in which a person can become Jewish: Birth and Conversion.

Birth-wise, well, it really depends who you ask. Apparently Judaism is extremely divided on this topic. Traditionally, Judaism would follow through the mother’s line (meaning: having a Jewish mother is mandatory, and sufficient, in order to be considered Jewish), however with all sorts of Jewish sub-streams now existing, other interpretations are not uncommon. For example—again,depending on who you ask—a child may be considered Jewish through the father’s line.

Conversion-wise, well, even here it’s not really cut and dry. It is possible, and many people do it, but the process is far from being simple and—even worse than that—isn’t very well defined so you might end up being considered “Jewish” by one “stream” and non-Jewish by another.

The best way to become Jewish, then, is to simply be born as one.

At this moment, there are between 13.5 and 18 million Jewish people in the entire world, depends on who you’re asking ( As of 2010, around 6 million of them (less than half and, some say, less than third of the global Jewish population) live in Israel; the United States contains the largest Jewish population in the world.

Where Did We Come From, and The Law of Return

The land upon which Israel is built has always had some sort of Jewish population in it. According to the Bible, that land was promised to Abraham by no-one else than God almighty Itself. Where Jewish people went since the beginning of time… That’s an entire bookshelf by itself; however, just before the establishment of the state of Israel, Jewish people were pretty much all over the world. Prior to World War 2, Europe had a very large Jewish population; during World War 2, though, that number had shrunk by some 6,000,000.

Once the “Home for the Jewish People” had been established, Jewish people from all over the world started flowing in: from Eastern Europe; Western Europe; the Americas; Asia (primarily Middle-Eastern countries such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan); and Africa.

Every individual who is proven to be Jewish is automatically entitled for Israeli citizenship, by virtue of the Law of Return ( Receiving Israeli citizenship in any other way is far from being a well-structured process as the entire subject of immigration into Israel and naturalization in it has never been the top priority of any government here. For example, consider the USA: In order to become a USA citizen, there’s a process you have to go through, with rather well-defined rules and limitations, and at the end of it all you become an equal citizen. Same for Canada, same for pretty much any western country. In Israel, it doesn’t work that way.

We’re As Religious As We Want to Be…

Like many other religions, it is up to the individual to decide how far they would like to follow Judaism. There are 613 “Mitzvah’s” in Judaism (a Mitzvah is, essentially, a tradition; a rule; something you have to do—or not do—in order to live in peace with this religion), and only a minority of Jews follow all of them. Unlike many other countries, though, there is noticeable friction between groups of Jewish people based on which traditions they follow or neglect, and that friction isn’t only “on the surface”—it propagates all the way up to politics as well.

For example: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement; is considered to be the single most sacred religious holiday in Judaism. There are dozens of “do’s” and “don’ts” for that particular 25 hours time window (which occurs annually), which can be summarized as:

  • Pray in the Synagogue;
  • Fast; and
  • Avoid any sort of activity that carries any sort of pleasure in it.

(Picking your nose is forbidden. You probably ask yourself “WTF”—so did I—however that very issue was once presented to a senior Rabbi who concluded that thou nose shall not be picked on Sabbaths, let alone Yom Kippur)

Strictly speaking, for example, one must not watch TV, or do any of many other things. Yet, many Jewish people choose which rules to follow. That’s why you would see many people fasting on Yom Kippur, while still using the computer or watching TV.

Another example: in Judaism, you’re not allowed to work on Saturdays, and you must not drive your car. Still, many people choose to not work, but still drive their cars.

Sort-of a “pick your own” kind of religion.

… Or As Our Government Wants Us to Be

Having said all of that, a few traditions are so globally accepted by Jewish people that they actually made it into legislation, believe it or not. This is one of the aspects in which Israel still remains a third-world country—the involvement of religion in the country’s affairs.

Examples? There are plenty. In the city of Bnei-Brak, which features a large orthodox Jews population, there is a bylaw prohibiting entrance to many of the city’s parts using motorized vehicles on Sabbath; businesses must be closed during the aforementioned Day of Atonement; many cities have bylaws prohibiting the operation of businesses during Sabbath; sale and growing of pork is prohibited in many places.

How’s that for a ridicule: El-Al, the country’s prominent airline, is not allowed to operate airplanes in Israel during Sabbath. Yes, you heard it right; for an Air-Canada flight to touch Israeli ground on Sabbath—that’s OK; but for Israel’s only airline, it isn’t.

The involvement of religion in the country’s political landscape is one of the issues that annoy Israelis the most; in my mind, if Israel is ever to fail as a country, the religion’s involvement with politics will likely be a key contributor to it. That involvement spans way beyond just closing stores on Saturday—had it only been that, I’d be happy—but rather, it bites way deeper into basic freedoms.


That is, in a nutshell. Until the next one…


Monday, January 10, 2011

Israeliving (Part 1 of ?): All is Opinion?

“Remember: All is Opinion”—Marcus Aurelius

[“Israeliving” is a term I just came up with, for the purpose of this series of articles. Little did I know that this actually is a name of a business… There is absolutely no connection between “Israeliving” in this article and the touring company called “Israeliving”]

Three weeks after hopping over the Atlantic and the Mediterranean for my annual visit, and really not much has been posted. Much less than I originally intended, that is. Why? I can’t really tell. Before I arrived, I was thinking about going for daily trips to all sorts of places, take notes, photographs, and share; but something, I guess, happened along the way and so I found myself spending 95% of the time not more than 10 kilometres from my family’s house in Ramat-Gan, a suburb of Tel-Aviv.

Still, I did get a lot done.

The “private distribution” phase of my Get Lucky Tour Blog has been finalized, ordered, and the books are currently making their way neatly wrapped in a huge box to Hadar’s place in Kirkland, WA—where they will be stored until I sign, dedicate & mail them out on January 23. Thanks to all those who participated!

Also, the books are now up for general sale; take a look at for more information. If you’re one of those who will be receiving their copy at the end of the month, please be kind enough and post a review (an honest one, please—especially if it’s positive). Thanks.

Looking back over the last three weeks, since I arrived here, and trying to reflect on what it is that made me stay at home most of the time rather than (re-)explore the country, I can think of two reasons.

The first reason was very simple to get at: I really am tired of traveling, moving around. It is hard for me to admit but I feel that, recently, I have been traveling way, way too much and I crave the feeling of being stationary. As I am writing these lines, I can’t wait to the moment when I will already be in an apartment of my own, in Vancouver’s downtown area, sipping a cup of coffee while overlooking the city (and when the coffee’s done… Well… That’s what guitars are for). You couldn’t pay me enough to make me hop on a plane now to, say, London for a city trip. Can’t see a suitcase or a backpack anymore. Want to rest.

I never thought that I can possibly run out of wanderlust, as I have always considered travel being my #1 passion. Time for some balance.

The second reason is a bit more involved and it is, indeed, the reason I decided to write this post. It has to do with my home country.


Look at this blog’s title: “The Way I See It”. Whatever is written here reflects my opinion, about a very broad subject. Generalizations will take place, although I realize that exceptions to the rule usually exist—all over the place.


Other than April 2006, when I came here for 3 days for my best friend’s wedding, I have been visiting Israel once a year—every year—for the past eight years; those visits used to be short at the beginning (up to two weeks), and grew longer as years went by. Things change from one year to another; in general, I can say that—

  • I became generally happier and more concerned with my personal space. Not surprising, considering the fact that I have the privilege of living in one of the best countries to live in on this planet; and
  • Life, for the common people in Israel, became harder.

These, combined, make me worried. My entire family lives here, and so do most of my closest friends. Also, for the last few months, I was actually considering making what’s called in Hebrew Alliyah—that is, coming back to this sunny country for good; it is worrying to find out that, for the time being, I simply cannot allow myself to even consider doing it. In other words: I always knew that coming back would mean a great deal of sacrifice, but as time goes by, I realize that that sacrifice is simply too much to take.

One way to go about it would be to simply give up, shut up and go on with my life. Another way would be to write about it. Who knows, maybe if enough people read it, some time, somewhere, some things would change…

… But I wouldn’t hold my breath. To understand why, lets talk about the first trait of Israeliving—the valuation (or, to be precise, the lack thereof) of foreigners’ opinions, about Israeliving, by the locals.

You Don’t Live Here, So Please… Shut the F**k Up

To start, here’s an observation: Israelis are very opinionated people. Ask an Israeli a question about anything, and you’ll get an answer. Ask an Israeli to find fault in something, and he will—typically, regardless of whether he has any firm foundation upon which to base his opinion. Admitting ignorance is considered a sin here, and refraining from sounding an opinion is often perceived as a sign of cowardice and ignorance.

I don’t know much about today’s kids, but in earlier times (say, when I was a kid), we were raised to challenge; to compete; to have an opinion. Granted, some of us did more useful things with it than others, but in general, we Israelis aren’t entirely into blind conformism and utter ignorance—at least not visibly.

That, for itself, isn’t much of a problem. Obviously it is OK to have differing opinions; pure conformism would bring society absolutely nowhere. The problem begins, however, when people lose the ability to clearly express opinions and—more importantly—listen. And it is exactly that—the ability to listen—that seems to have all but completely vanished.

What exactly caused listening to vanish is perhaps a topic for an in-depth social analysis and who am I to delve into it: yet, I doubt there is a sane Israeli out there that would not agree that people listen less today than, say, 20 years ago. The lack of proper, sane, constructive dialogue appears everywhere—schools, television shows, sporting events, politics, you name it.

I remember a few times in the past viewing clips (on YouTube; I don’t watch TV) of American and Canadian talk-shows that were considered controversial and very rude (usually following a link in Google News or something), and simply laughing at the North American conceptualization of “rude dialogue”—Hell, I said, That’s like a relatively calm evening on Israel’s “Channel 2”.

In the Israeli dialogue—especially the dialogue concerning politics, the security situation, economy and other global matters—one technique that is often conducted by the typical Israeli is the categorization of your opinion based on a whole range of circumstances, in an endless attempt to delegitimize it. Note the distinction here: invalidating your argument means proving that you’re wrong, while delegitimizing your argument means “proving” to you that you are not really in the position to voice any argument in the first place.

A clear example is this: any opinion voiced by Arab-Israeli members of parliament, about the security situation, is, 99% of the time, bound to fall on deaf ears due to the speaker being Arab-Israeli. Arab-Israelis are stereotyped to be anti-Israeli and that very stereotype is used by so many Israelis as an excuse to avoid dealing with the actual argument due to it being illegitimate in the first place.

The very same type of stereotyping and categorization is often exhibited when the arguer is not an Israeli, and the argument presents criticism (either constructive or not) over the country’s “state of affairs”. Israelis are extremely intolerant towards foreigners voicing opinions about Israel’s politics / economy / security (and similar issues); in Israeli eyes, such criticism is viewed as “meddling”, and the categorization of the argument as “meddling” is used as an excuse to completely disregard the argument as an illegitimate one altogether.

Why? Well, to be completely honest, I can see a grain of reason in it. We’re talking about people who, up until 1948, served as the punching bag of the world by being kicked out from one place to another. Even after the country’s establishment, international politics were never too friendly towards Israel, to say the least—not very surprising, considering the ongoing trend by international politics of kissing the asses of whoever controls the flow of oil. (Well, that’s a topic for another discussion)

But that’s not the worst. Even more than Israelis despise and disregard criticism from outsiders, the contempt and disregard are exponentially higher when the criticism comes from former Israelis, that is—Israelis who emigrated to other countries and settled there. That includes myself, of course. Even Yitzhak Rabin, who wasn’t known as an extremely hawkish individual (to say the least), called such people “Fall-out of Wimps” (נפולת של נמושות), back in 1976.

The opinions of Israelis who had enough with the craziness of living here, and decided to settle elsewhere, are highly disregarded here. The rationalization behind it is this: Israelis who emigrated elsewhere took the “easy way out”, and those who took the “easy way out” have no moral right to voice any sort of criticism on Israelis’ behaviour, or its politics and such.

Note: what’s challenged here is former Israelis’ moral right to voice an opinion, rather than their legal right to actually vote; the latter is irrelevant anyway as, contrary to many other nations in the world, Israeli citizens are forbidden to vote from abroad except in certain circumstances (such as diplomats).

Interesting, huh?

Well, I think it is.


In the next article, I’ll write about my view of Israeli politics. Stay tuned.