I was in the next room while my girlfriend was watching Conan deliver his TV monologue Wednesday night. It was during this when I heard the comic announce that Disney was to build one of its theme parks in Israel.
I paused for the punch-line as it hung in mid-air. When it came, it sounded something like “one of [the Israeli Disney park’s] attractions will be a boat ride called ‘Hit a Small Yet Occupied Territory.” That didn’t sound quite right – so I figured that whether the joke was righteous or wrong, spoken in rectitude or dhimmitude, I must’ve heard it incorrectly.
“Did he say ‘Hit the small yet occupied territory’”? I asked my girlfriend, then bathed in the televised light of what in our house is still a cathode ray tube. “Close,” came the reply, “he actually said: ‘It’s a small yet occupied territory.’” She was now wary, knowing how I can get when comics (or carpet-remnant warehouse ads) take cheap shots at noble subjects like Washington and Lincoln. I mean, Conan’s funny and has shown some class, but there’s a fundamental difference between stand-up guys and those who get rich doing stand-up. Just where do “funnymen” — whose only experience of war lies in trying to get an interview with Ciara before the competition does — come off making fun of those who’ve put their lives on the line for principle? Beyond that – where do they get off embracing the narrative of invariably mendacious Palestinians (whose very name springs from the conscious development of a false history) in order to get a laugh off a country that does so?
A better-named boat ride for Israel’s Disney park would be a Gaza-flotilla-based one called “It’s Iranian-Sponsored Terror After All.” But – as Janeane Garofalo might put it — that’s just not cool. Too out of keeping with the Hamas-hugging hipster-left’s political fashion dictates to work on TV.
It seems that Israel, once referred to by Alan Dershowitz as “the Jew among nations,” is lately becoming late night’s New Jersey among nations as well. Conan’s quip was only the latest of anti-Zion zingers now filtering their way into stand-up and beyond.
O’Brien, who once told a joke in which the Israeli settlers’ “traditional home” was “Miami Beach,” might’ve been influenced by Bill Maher, who thought the only way to get Jews to leave Gaza would be by “having a black family move in next door.” While Jon Stewart, who amiably hosted anti-Israeli extremists Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer, hilariously considered media coverage during Operation Cast Lead to be pro-Israel in nature.
To be fair however, each of these TV personalities has also defended Israel (with Maher, bravely, foremost among them), and it’s reasonable to assume that their primary purpose is to get a laugh even if that sometimes means unfairly roughing Israel up in the process. However, the sensitive viewer knows that Jew jokes once considered tasteless and even anti-Semitic are on the rise in sit-coms and among stand-ups — as in the Stalinist world of Show-Biz ideology, the needle of what’s acceptable moves closer to pegging at Mel Gibson and Helen Thomas.
Which brings us back to Conan. Just what was he referring to by “it’s a small yet occupied territory”? The best I can make out is that – if anything — this joke was intended as a reference to Operation Cast Lead. Well, to give credit when due, Gaza is both small and a territory. But as for its being “yet occupied,” were Conan the Palestinian to read up on his recent Middle Eastern history he’d see that Israel – a country that has virtually no strategic depth and is surrounded by those calling for her extinction in openly genocidal terms – handed Gaza over to some of that very bunch in its entirety! In part, this was done so that Israel would not rule a people who do not want to be ruled by her (although – as it turns out – the very opposite is the case for many Palestinian Arabs), and while that’s something she did in the semi-suicidal naiveté that’s her prevailing weakness — it’s something she did nonetheless. Israel never “occupied” Gaza in the first place, but to say that a country is the occupier of a territory in which it has no presence, is an example of cognitive dissonance so extreme that only Israel-hatred can inspire it.
Not that saying all this over and over makes any difference – at least not as long as these Mickey-Mouse media-bots fail to muster the moxie to abandon political fashions’ PC fascism. Until then, Israel goes on being a small yet irrationally-maligned country after all.