A Dialogue of the Deaf

(Update at bottom of post, January 3rd)

I was just about to start subtitling this video-clip, and thankfully someone beat me to it. Not the best job – but it pretty much gives you the picture – and for this I thank him/her.

This is an interview on Channel 1 state TV, the daily 5pm news show called Erev Hadash (New Evening). The longtime host is Dan Margalit, joined today by journalist Ronen Bergman.

Let’s bring you up to speed: Margalit’s been around for ages. He’s been at Haaretz and Maariv, now at Yisrael Hayom (the Bibi-paper). He’s most famous for his Rabin-dollar-account-in-the-States scoop from 1977. He’s also famous for being a very close friend of Ehud Olmert. That is, up until the Second Lebanon War. Things got, how should I put it, a bit “sour” after that.

Most recently, his daughter (a powerful TV producer) was almost beaten to death, in front of her kid, no less, by thugs sent by Dudu Topaz – an entertainer who used to be G-d on TV but wasn’t happy when the whole country virtually forgot who he was. After he was caught, he committed suicide in his cell, just a few months ago.

Margalit is interviewing MK Jamal Zahalka, the head of the Arab party Balad.

They’re talking about Egypt’s actions concerning the siege on Gaza.

Watch, and let’s talk again after the show:

Despite the high decibles, this is a classic example of a dialogue of the deaf.

First, see how both sides define audacity (chutzpah) differently? One says 8,000 Qassam rockets are chutzpah. The other doesn’t listen and says 1,400 killed are chutzpah.

They go on not listening to each other. One accuses a veteran journalist of ass-licking former and present prime ministers, and another shows no respect whatsoever for a publicly-elected official.

But the best is saved for last, when Zahalka says that the studios in the Ramat Aviv neighbourhood in Tel Aviv are really Sheikh Munis, the Arab village which was there before 1948. This really sets Margalit off, as you can see. Indeed, both show their true colors. Margalit shows no recognition of Sheikh Munis, just as Zahalka before him shows no acceptance of Ramat Aviv.

And to top it off, Zahalka says: “I am a native of the Land!”.

And Margalit had to say: “So that makes me an immigrant?!”

If I had the words to tell you how representative this dialogue is of the whole dialogue used in the region, I would use them. But I don’t. Just trust me: this is it. This is where we live. This interview sums it up.

Now you tell me: Is there hope out there, somewhere?…

UPDATE:

The Jerusalem Post reports on 3 January:

The Movement for Quality Government is demanding that the attorney-general open a criminal investigation concerning comments made by MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) about Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel Radio reported.

Zahalka was quoted as saying, “Defense Minister Ehud Barak enjoys listening to classical music and killing children,” in reference to last year’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The movement asserts that the comments qualified incitement, thus justifying an attack on Barak.

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