Iranian SunflowerSeeds


The other day I bought a tiny bag of coated peanuts that for some reason that's beyond me are called 'American peanuts'. It's funny because I don't remember ever seeing peanuts like those until I came on aliyah. Come to think of it: the first time I saw something called 'American ice cream' was only in Israel - in Chicago we just called it soft ice cream.
That got me thinking about names of places that are attached to names of things. My mom used to buy meat from one or two butcher shops: one was Romanian and the other was Hungarian. As a kid my knowledge of geography ended at Devon to the south and Touhy to the north. Well – I also knew had to take the L to the Addison station in order to get to Wrigley Field, but I had no idea where Romania or Hungary were. I couldn't really tell the difference in taste between the two either, I mean one burned my tongue from left to right and the other from right to left and I still can't remember which was which. It was a mystery to me, especially as my mom often told us she came from Poland, so why didn't she go to a place called Polish?
There are other geographic-thing combinations that I don't get, but I accept, because what can you do, right? So: there are African-Americans – even though their families were kidnapped from Africa a couple of hundred years ago (I wonder if people who left "Rhodesia" when it became Zimbabwe are also called "African-Americans); there's French toast – which my mom made so often for me that I was sure it's really Polish toast; there are French fries, but that's obviously a misnomer, because the best fries when I was a kid were at Reb's and he wasn't French.
As I said – in Israel there are American peanuts. Maybe that refers to Jimmy Carter who grew peanuts, but has a hard coating of irrational hatred of Israel, as irrational as adding another hardened shell to a peanut after they already got the first shell off. In Israel there are also Belgian waffles – but everyone knows that ain't so, I mean everyone'll tell you that Aunt Jemima wasn't Belgian, and she probably wasn't even from New Orleans.
Another combination I learned about through my years of careful study in Israel is: "garinei Afula", which means: "Afula sunflower seeds". Now I remember sunflower seeds as a kid: it was food that was too little for too big an effort. I remember even better the time my dear brother stuck this big yellow flower in my face and said all-excited: "This is a real honest-to-goodness sunflower!" My reaction? I sneezed! Then and ever since then. I claim my brother is responsible for my hay fever. Now Afula sunflower seeds may be grown in the southern coastal plain and bagged in Ashdod – but they'll still be called Afula seeds. There's also 'Persian rice' that really comes from China or Vietnam!
The truth is that all these unfathomable geographical combinations are weird but I can accept them. Hey, you can accept them too! The only combination you and I can't accept is "garinei Iran", which loosely translated to English means: "Iranian nukes". I hope our prime minister gets that message across to Congress and through them to the American people. I wish all the leaders of all our political parties would join the prime minister in making it perfectly clear that allowing Iran to come close to the threshold of being a nuclear nation is a danger for the entire free world. The old sixties songs, "Who's Next?", ended with the words (more or less): "We'll all try to stay serene and calm when Alabama gets the bomb" – but that ain't so for Iran, no serenity and no calm anywhere if Iran gets the bomb! So let's all open our mouths now and say it clearly!