Doing It Wrong: "Only Israel"

A friend posted this video to Facebook:       YouTube Link

(WARNING: Viewers who don’t strongly identify with the Israeli state may experience nausea!)

The music is quite good, but the words are more problematic. I couldn’t find the lyrics in English, but they can be found in German.

Back on Facebook, I commented on the video, and for a reason I don’t know yet and might never understand, my comment was deleted. Luckily, I saved a copy of it, so I decided to repost it here where people can respond to it freely:

Great music! Too bad the words are so…misguided.

I don’t know which “world” the writers mean; naturally in Israel you hear more about criticism towards Israel. But in my experience, people in the Western world are aware, and critical, of many different oppressive regimes, some of which people in Israel hardly hear about because of how preoccupied everyone is with the Middle East. (For example, my roommate told me a few weeks ago about how Thailand [or was it Vietnam?] was systematically killing journalists.)

But Kela’s right – comparing Israel with the insane people running Sudan, the Russian Federation, and Iran is not really where we want to be. Israel is not part of the third world like they are (Russia is perhaps a special case, but Putin has made sure to distance Russian from the West in almost every way possible short of war). Unlike those countries, Israel today is part of the Western world.

But maybe the most important difference is how we define ourselves. Israel defines itself as a highly moral country and a place of refuge for a refugee people. Sudan, Iran and Russia have never claimed any such thing. And when refugees from Sudan take the shortest land route to democracy, well, they reach Israel’s border with Egypt. And then if they manage to enter that democracy, they find out how difficult it is to be recognized as a refugee in Israel if you’re not a Jew. And they discover that the government is running campaigns to hunt them down and kick them out.

So yeah, there are worse states than Israel. Far, far worse states. But Israel is probably unique in having such a clash between what it claims to be and what it is apparently doing.

And anyway, whining that “everyone is picking on me” has never been a very good way to make people like you. This video will make mainstream and right-wing Israelis happy and make basically everyone else like Israel even less. I can understand trying to make Israel’s case to people, but this video is definitely a bad idea for that cause.

2 thoughts on “Doing It Wrong: "Only Israel"”

  1. Also, the song itself is awful. And the rhymes are lame. And English spoken with a Hebrew accent is really, really annoying. That can’t be helping the Israeli cause either…

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