A Yom HaZicaron message or two.

This morning I donated blood at Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem. The nurses who worked my veins were both Arab. I was curious to stay until the siren to see how the blood bank unit, including the nurses, would react but it was going to happen too late.

Instead I was driving along Herzog. It was the first time I’ve had a car/been driving and did the whole stop in the middle of traffic thing.

Meanwhile, my cell phone has a message for everyone:

Hey everybody, look! Funny Arabs!

Tonight we went to Off the Wall comedy club (apparently the only comedy club in Jerusalem) for their open mic, where my new favorite Arab-American comedians were performing. Unlike a Mideast peace conference, this was not disappointing! (budump-bump?)

Ray Hanania (Palestinian-American) and Sherif Hedayat (Egyptian-American) have been running around Israel – along with a few other comedians, including Jewish and Israeli – performing their Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour for different audiences. They do it to help open minds and break negative stereotype (by reinforcing the funny stereotypes?). I don’t know what these guys have an educational background in but let’s rejoice they didn’t get stuck at some online universities studying to earn online engineering degrees or college diplomas.

Actually, I find it a huge relief to sit in a room and laugh at Arabs and Israelis making fun of ourselves. I think humor is extremely important in high-tension situations, and why the hell not take a break from the pain once in a while?

I’ve uploaded a bunch of clips of their stuff; sit back, relax and take a joke for peace’ sake:

What am I?

Jewish Arab Wedding

Jewish son

Occupied

Magic carpet

Flying Sherif

My name is Sherif

Terrorist with ADD

Dating after 9/11

At the airport

Iraqis and MySpace

Arabic pick up lines


Today's word: Etrog Journalism.

I learned a new word – or rather, term – today at the Arab-Israeli Journalism panel I sat on: etrog journalism.

The idea, thunk up by a Haaretz reporter a few years ago, is that certain items of news need to be treated as delicately as an etrog, the yellow citrus fruit we Jews use on Succot. We keep them in boxes, wrapped carefully in styrofoam or straw hair-like substances so as not to break the end of it.

The example given, and the original story, apparently, was that Sharon needed to be protected like an etrog to play down corruption in the government so that other news about the peace process and disengagement could prevail. From there came “etrog journalism”: protecting an issue so that other issues can thrive.