The whole world is looking at Israel right now. And it sucks. It really, really sucks.
It’s rarely if ever a good thing when Israel makes it into the news or is in the public eye in any way. Usually it in some way involves war or terrorism, so it’s a highlight of tragedy. Other times it’s to take an action of Israel and blow it out of proportion in ways that an honest observer would be shocked by. And then there’s the occasional legitimate criticism.
And every once in a while, when the stars align, Israel gets a pat on the back from the universe.
Israel’s Impressive Vaccine Rollout
And they’re doing it a whole lot right now. We’re under earth’s mightiest microscope, as everyone watches their favorite country to pick on absolutely kick ass in the fight to get the Coronavirus vaccine jammed into as many arms as possible.
In many ways, this is the worst possible situation for Israel.
I couldn’t presume to give a proper explanation for why, but the moment Israel is in the public eye, it never ends well. The classic shockingly disturbing example of what happens when Israel gets praised is the professor who determined that in world history, Israel is the only example of a conquering nation that did not rape the inhabitants of the area it conquered.
Great! Look at our wonderful nation. A people who in the worst of times still maintain a moral backbone. Obviously this discovery should result in the world showering praise upon such a kindhearted and special people.
The Shocking Conclusion
But… not quite. What was the professor’s conclusion for why we didn’t rape the women? Because we’re a bunch of racists.
That’s right. Of course the Israeli people didn’t want to violate women they deemed of inferior origin!
If this sounds absurd, unfortunately it’s because you haven’t been watching history closely enough. This is why we’re better off not being in the public’s eye. The moment we get there, that’s when things start going wrong. It’s in Israel’s best interest to be in the background. Not too hot, not too cold. We want to be the kid in class the teacher never even thinks to call on. Because the moment we’re called upon, that’s when people whip out their criticism Thesaurus. That’s when the world searches the deepest levels of its creativity to find reasons to insult the Jewish nation.It's in Israel's best interest to be in the background... We want to be the kid in class the teacher never even thinks to call on. Click To Tweet
All Eyes on Israel
Pfizer has declared Israel its vaccine laboratory. All eyes are on Israel to find out what happens when a significant portion of the population gets vaccinated, how the vaccines handle Covid variants, what happens to those who are vaccinated but otherwise may not have been recommended to do so, and so much more.
And what’s the reward for doing a really good job and the world taking notice and trying to figure out how it can learn from Israel’s success?
Now, there’s only one thing I don’t like about this joke. It’s not funny. Make fun of Jews and Israel all you like. Comedy is what happens when everyone in the room agrees that we’re all on the same team, and our goal is just to laugh. No group is off the table. If you have an absurdity worthy of teasing, we will unleash the tease.
But Saturday Night Live has been an assault on comedy for years now. Every sketch seems to follow a similar pattern. A semi-humorous concept with maybe one laughable moment, followed by beating the joke to death for the next barely tolerable 4-5 minutes. I honestly don’t know why anyone pays any attention to them at all anymore.
That being said, if the show were to be cancelled, I would hope to God it would be because they weren’t funny and not because of a few off-color jokes that offended some pansies.
That being said, Saturday Night Live is representative of a reality many of us are painfully aware of. When Jews or Israel do something–anything–good, there are those across the world who will immediately seek a way to show that either it wasn’t really good or mock it for being self-serving. That cheesy, poorly delivered one-liner was not just a crappy joke. It was an example of a real and dangerous thought pattern that happens all the time.
Israel in the Public’s Eye
So what happens when Israel is in the public eye, so much so they are the butt of SNL’s subpar humor?
All of a sudden the microscopes start coming out in droves, and Israel is picked apart for everything it’s ever done… and tons of things it hasn’t done as well.
I check the American news on occasion, just to gauge how things are looking across the ocean. And an article on CNN immediately caught my eye. The implication is that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s in bed with ultra-homophobic hate mongers, and this should reflect terribly on his character.
Now, I don’t love Netanyahu. I question whether anyone does at this point. But if I were to have contempt for him, it would not be for this insane non-issue.
The way the political system works in Israel is the main leaders must form a coalition with other political parties, sometimes several, in order to form a working government. In order to do so, you need to work with parties that disagree on some issues. And guess what? They all will! By definition. If they didn’t disagree on some issues, why in the world would they be a different party???
So the choices are:
a. Work with people who agree with you on some or most issues, or
b. Don’t form a coalition, the government falls apart, we go to elections again, everyone’s miserable, and a whole lot of money is wasted
So what did CNN do? They took the parties Netanyahu is likely to work with in order to have a functional government, searched for reprehensible traits among those parties, and made something that no one is talking about anywhere in Israel into a headline, and BAM, Israel looks like garbage for millions of CNN readers who aren’t going to look past a headline.
Hiding Safely in the Shadows
And how did we get to this?
It all started with being in view of the public. Remain in the background, no one talks about Israel, and the entire nation is better off.
If we find ourselves being stared at by the world, for any reason whatsoever, we are vilified. And once the floodgates open, there is infinite room for criticism.
We should be blessed to hide in the shadows. Where it’s safe.