Sometimes you’ve gotta laugh. Like when they send in the clowns. These particular clowns came from Spain last week to protest Israeli policies next to what they describe as the Apartheid Wall near Jerusalem, and it is no exaggeration to say they were willing to drop everything for the cause. Wearing only red noses, these clowns posed in front of the wall hoping to attract attention. And they were successful.
Their red noses turned to red faces at the reaction.
According to a Ynet report, the Spanish activists received a virtual slap in the face (and given their state of undress, I hesitate to suggest they turn the other cheek).
The exhibitionist activists drew the ire of conservative Palestinians who slammed the group’s “disgusting” lack of respect.
Deducing from the strategically placed hands (I’ll spare you the photos), the group of eight was comprised of seven men and one woman. Apparently, they had spent the previous week performing on the streets of Bethlehem, Ramallah and east Jerusalem – presumably dressed, or their cheeky act would have been noted earlier.
According to the Ynet report, they explained their photo shoot by saying: “When you stand before this shameful fence, all of humanity is naked. The decision to be photographed as naked clowns was meant to remind us that all of humanity has lost its respect by allowing such barriers to exist.
“The 21st century is the time we need to break barriers and not build new ones. We apologize to the Palestinians whose feelings were hurt in this act. This is not an act against Islam; this is our way of denouncing the barrier.”
Just like their protest left little to the imagination, so did the talkbackers’ comments – both the Palestinians on the original post and those responding to the Ynet story.
My response was to laugh. But it was a bittersweet chuckle.
For a start, there are of course many barriers much closer to their Spanish homes. There are giant fences, for example, constructed by Spain to keep migrants out of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.
Here, thousands of desperate people have been trying to gain a foothold in the closest territory belonging to a European Union country, long before most of Europe had realized there was a migrant crisis.
Also, the clowns, and their fellow activists, should have realized who their partners are in their anti-Israel protests. If you’re willing to make Islamists your bedfellows, then at least have the sense not to jump into bed stark naked, with your eyes closed.
These clowns are a sad reflection of much that is wrong in the Middle East, the astonishing ignorance, hypocrisy and more than a touch of patronization.
While Islamic State was growing in strength, and millions of people were being displaced or slaughtered in Syria by Islamists and the Assad regime in turn, US Secretary of State John Kerry was busy shuttling between Ramallah and Jerusalem in a peacemaking policy that was doomed from the start.
At a time when Israel and the Palestinians were gradually strengthening ties, Kerry described the situation as “unsustainable,” and lo and behold it was: Within a few months, instead of quiet and economic growth, Hamas (part of the short-lived Palestinian unity government) declared yet another war on Israel and launched thousands of rockets from Gaza, while so-called lone-wolf killers carried out deadly terror attacks on Israelis.
The Iran deal gives the Islamic Republic a huge cash influx with which to continue supporting terrorist organizations and the Assad regime. And for this Kerry will probably be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ll be choking, not laughing.
There’s plenty of humor to be found in the current situation if you appreciate the absurd.
Earlier this month, a major threat was discovered and removed from Cardiff Central Library, ahead of a football match between Israel and Wales played in the city. Who knows what might have happened had it not been removed in time. A photography exhibition on the theme of “Jewish-Arab football: diversity and coexistence” was disbanded following a decision by Labor-led Cardiff City Council, concerned it would show “bias.” Anti-Israel protesters had reportedly complained that it presented a false picture. The last thing the “pro-peace” camp wants is an image of Jews and Arabs getting along and being good sports. BDS is dedicated to anti-normalization.
Look at SodaStream, for example. While denying the move was the result of the massive boycott campaign against it, the company recently relocated from the Mishor Adumim industrial zone, just over the Green Line, to southern Israel – costing hundreds of Palestinians well-paid jobs at the plant.
The BDS movement, however, intends to continue its campaign because the new factory “is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Naqab [Negev] desert, where Palestinian Bedouins are being forcefully transferred against their will.” (How many inaccuracies and deceptions can fit into one sentence of one press release?) In short, the BDS movement doesn’t want SodaStream, or Israel, to exist anywhere.
THE RECENT flare-up of tensions in Jerusalem, particularly on the Temple Mount, is not a coincidence. It happens every year in September, to a certain extent, before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas goes to the United Nations to make a bid for statehood.
For some reason, his demand that every last Jew be forced to leave the State of Palestine, when it is created, is considered reasonable, rather than ethnic cleansing.
This year he has promised to drop a bombshell.
(One hopes he’s talking figuratively; we’ve had enough bombs and rockets in the name of peace, thank you.) Placing the focus on Jerusalem suits the Muslim world more than usual: It has become the one rallying cry that can unite the masses, and deflect attention from the massacres going on in Muslim lands.
If peace were declared between Israel and the Palestinians tomorrow – about as likely as spotting a kosher flying pig – the number of casualties in war and terrorism would not drop dramatically. For that, you’d need to stop the slaughter by Sunnis and Shi’ites of each other, Christians, Jews, and various minorities (which is as likely as the proverbial flying pig also being halal).
If the Temple Mount is so important to the Muslim world, the first obvious measure by the Wakf Islamic trust on the site would be to stop the stockpiling of pipe bombs, firecrackers and rocks in the mosques. When Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched rockets from Gaza on Jerusalem in last summer’s war they weren’t concerned that they might destroy the holy sites.
Last week, far from trying to calm the situation, Abbas played on the old “dirty Jew” image, announcing: “Al-Aksa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They [the Jews] have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet.”
Abbas encouraged further violence when he said: “Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid [martyr] will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.” (Allah’s will and PA funding, that is.) If you’re looking for a laugh, or wondering who’s sending in the clowns, look no further than the United Nations. The monitoring group UN Watch earlier this week revealed that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva has been elected as chairman of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.
“It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in a statement. “Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.
“Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi.
“This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” Neuer added.
Saudi Arabia, it has been noted, is refusing to grant Muslim refugees asylum in the giant, wealthy kingdom. (And it doesn’t want Jewish feet, even super clean ones, treading on its soil either, for that matter.) As a sign of how detached the UN is from reality, Neuer frequently points out that in 2014 the UN General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions condemning Israel and only four on the rest of the world combined – on Syria, North Korea, Ukraine and Iran. And the world body continues to pass resolutions demanding Israel hand the Golan Heights to Syria “forthwith” (presumably this means to Assad, as Islamic State and the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra aren’t UN members – at least not yet).
By the way, I’m writing this column on the UN’s International Day of Peace.
Don’t make me laugh. I’m still struggling with the unholy image of red-nosed, rosycheeked, naked email@example.com