Author Archive for Ami Kaufman


this blog has moved



This Coming Friday

I’ll be relaunching Half & Half on Friday. I’ll have a new address, a new WordPress theme, and some Google ads.

I’ve wanted a new address for a while now, got kinda tired of the wordpress stuck in the the middle, so – I bought a domain. Also, I had some complaints about reading white on a black background, so I’ve got a new theme I’m going to try out (we’ll see if I stick with it…). And since my traffic is up a bit, I’ve decided to see if I can make a buck or two from some ads (hope that doesn’t tick any of you off…).

On Friday I’ll give out the new URL, where you’ll be able to read the special, first anniversary post. Yup, it’s been a year.

So, basically, this is my last post on Thanks shmookty, it’s been a hell of a ride! ūüôā

P.S. For those of you who didn’t know, “shmookty” is one of the first nicknames we gave our first daughter, Emma.


Izzie in HolyLand – Part 7

It’s 3 am in Jerusalem. Izzie’s just finished another consult with her ministers on how to get out of the mess Eli Yishai caused during the Biden visit.

She’s been crying the whole night.

Just as she finally begins to close her eyes, the phone rings.

Emanuel: Izzie?

Izzie: Yes, who is this?

Emanuel: It’s me, Rahm.

She can hear him smiling through the phone.

Izzie: Oh, I get it. So, you’re calling me to gloat now? Is that it?

Emanuel: Nah, of course not, kiddo! That’s not my style. I just wanted to check up on you…. hee-heee…pffffff¬†(he can’t control the giggling)

Izzie: Yeah, right. I’ll bet. Well, for your information, I’m doing just fine. Just! Fine! (The tears start to roll and mess up her mascara again)

Emanuel: Really? You’re fine? Pfffff heee-heee!! Sorry, sorry…. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…. I mean… ummm…. you don’t sound fine… heeeeeheeee!!!

Izzie: Stop it! I’m fine! So what if Barack’s a bit angry now? It’ll blow over.

Emanuel: “A bit angry”??!!!? PFFFFFFFFF!!!!! Did you hear that??

Izzie hears someone else laughing in the room with him

Izzie: Who’s there!?! Baracky baby?!?! Is that you?¬†

Axelrod: PFFFfffpfff sorry Izzie, it’s just me… David. Heeeee-heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….

Izzie: Oh. The other –

Axelrod: – Yeah, Izzie, the other self-hating Jew! pfffff heeeeheeeee hoooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She can’t control the sobs now

Izzie: Stop…(sniff) it… (sniff) please…(sniffsniffsniiff)¬†

Emanuel: OHHH G-d!!! OH! Feels so good!! Oh…. Sweet revenge…

Axelrod: Yeah, Izzie, I mean, you gotta admit: you had it comin’…

Izzie: I did not!

Axelrod: Oh, c’mon! What planet are you living on?! You’ve been lying to us ever since we took office!

Obama calls out for Rahm from the Oval Office

Izzie: Is that Baracky? Can I speak to him? Please???

Emanuel: Sure… If you want your head bitten off!!!! HEEEEE HHhooooo pffffff!!!

Axelrod slaps his knee and Emanuel grabs his stomach, the laugh is so hard it’s almost too painful¬†

Emanuel: Oh G-d, Oh G-d, so good…. so goood…. oh… oh… ohhh…. oh, someone stop the pain…. ohhhhhhhhhhhh

Izzie: Please… (sniff)… Rahm… (sniff)… Let me speak to Barack…

Axelrod: Izzie, I don’t think that’s such a good idea….

Izzie: Please!!! (sob)… I’ll do anything!

Emanuel and Axelrod grin at each other

Emanuel: Will you stop building in East Jerusalem?

Izzie thinks for second

Izzie: No…

Emanuel: HEEEEEE!!!! Hooo !!!! I didn’t think so!!! HAaaa… Oh G-d… stop it, stop it… oh please… I can’t breath… please….

Axelrod: Oh G-d, I haven’t laughed this hard since my Zeidi used to tickle me as a kid….heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Emanuel: OK, OK, OK…. Listen, Iz…. seriously… we just wanted to try to cheer you up…

Axelrod: Yea Iz, seriously, we actually wanted to sing you a little song….

Izzie: Really? For real? Don’t make fun of me Rahm… I’m really not in the mood…

Emanuel: No, of course not! Just listen, OK?

Izzie: Well, OK…

Axelrod: OK. Let’s do this…

Emanuel and Axelrod look at each other, trying hard to keep the laughter in. They clear their throats simultaneously and go for it

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“Who’s sorry now? Who’s sorry now? Whose heart is aching for breaking each vow?”¬†

Izzie: You fucking bastards!

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“Who’s sad and blue?” PFfffff “Who’s crying too?”¬†Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Izzie: Fucking shmucks!

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“Just like I cried over you?”¬†HOooooooooooooHeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Izzie: Stop it! Get Barack on the phone! Now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“Right to the end, just like a friend”

Izzie: You’re gonna pay for this Rahm.

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“I tried to warn you somehow”

Rahm: I did Izzie, I tried to warn you, I swear heeeeehooooooooo heeee pfffff

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“You had your way, now you must pay” ¬†pfffffffffffffffffffffff

Izzie: Asshole.

Emanuel and Axelrod:¬†“I’m glad that YOU’RE SORRY NOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

They both collapse in their chairs giggling uncontrollably, as Obama walks in

Obama: Rahm! What the hell is going on in here?

Rahm sits up straight, wipes the tears of joy from his eyes

Emanuel: Sorry, Mr. President… We were just fooling around a bit with Izzie….

Obama: Oh… well… in that case…

He grins

Obama: Keep up the good work!


Oh My Gosh

I can’t decide whether I like this song by Efrat Gosh, or not. There’s something very cool about it, and yet extremely annoying at the same time…

But while searching for the video clip, I found out she made not one, not two – but seven different clips for it!

The Hearts:

The Promenade:

At home:

Night time:

Tel Aviv:

Strip club:

The tattoo:


I’m Dreaming of a White Intifada

I’m dreaming of a white Intifada

Just like good ‘ole Ghandi used to do

Where the protests in Bil’in

And demos in Na’alin

Do more than a suicide bomber or two


I’m dreaming of a white Intifada

With every blog post that I write

May your boycotts topple Bibi

And the Right

And may all your Intifadas be white


Music: Irving Berlin

Lyrics: Ami “Seriously Twisted” Kaufman


By George, I think They’ve Got It!

Cross-posted with The Huffington Post

With Bibi Netanyahu turning out to be just another Yitzhak Shamir – the one who doesn’t initiate, doesn’t lead and does nothing to get things moving – the ball has been thrown into the Palestinians’ court. And if we stick with the sports metaphors for a bit, what a pleasure it is to see that someone has stepped up to the plate, on the other side, and has decided not to wait for the Israelis.

But what’s even more impressive is the change of tactics, a change that might actually work. Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Prime Minister serving under Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen, is now leading what many around the world are calling the White Intifada: a struggle consisting of weekly non-violent protests against settlements and the separation fence, while striving for a declaration of independence by the summer of 2011. Fayyad, a former economist and technocrat, is also leading the ban on products from the settlements (seen below throwing products into a bonfire) and has shunned the use of Israeli VIP cards given to senior Palestinian figures so as not to be seen as collaborators with the occupation.


Overnight, Fayyad has turned from a dull official into a charismatic politician, enough for Shimon Peres to call him the Palestinian Ben Gurion. He’s also done much to rid Palestinian school books of anti-Israeli propoganda, and is getting good grades from everybody, especially the Americans, who are happy with the “yes to peace, no to violence” approach. As Aluf Benn writes:

“He is receiving enthusiastic approval from the U.S. administration as a successful manager. Some 2,600 Palestinian policemen have already graduated from the training course run by U.S. General Keith Dayton in Jordan and are back in the territories, expecting to serve an independent state, not as subordinate agents of an Israeli occupation.”

This new strategy from the Palestinian side was successfully set out in a recent op-ed by Ziad Abu Zayyad, a former minister and PLC member in the Palestinian Authority:

“There is a lesson to be learned here by us Palestinians: We cannot quash the Israeli repression machine with violence, because our violence will be used to justify and legitimize the brutality of the strong against the weak. Furthermore, Palestinians need to take into account the fact that they have allies on the Israeli side who share their rejection of the occupation and of discrimination; it is crucial to reinforce and nurture this relationship with them.

“Disseminating a culture of passive resistance against the oppression and atrocities of the occupation is the most efficacious method for fighting it: It should be promulgated and its circle expanded. It must not remain restricted to pockets of protest here and there, but should become a generalized modus operandi that encompasses all points of contact with the occupation and the settlements, which are trying to gobble up the land and obliterate all features of Palestinian identity. It must be clearly said that nonviolence is morally superior to force.”

This is a new kind of language coming out of the West Bank, and this new attitude and leadership from the Palestinian side is already bearing fruit on the diplomatic front. The foreign ministers of France and Spain, in a joint article recently published in Le Monde, called to expedite the establishment of a Palestinian state and complete its recognition by October 2011.

Fayyad and the White Intifada are the most refreshing and genuine attempt lately to get things moving in the right direction. As opposed to Israel’s long-standing policy of dunking its head in the sand, we’re finally seeing some true wisdom from the Palestinian side: mainly, that violence only makes Israelis react with more violence. The Fatah in the West Bank saw exactly where the violent struggle of the Hamas led to: the deadly Operation Cast Lead. Their biggest achievement since then has only been the Goldstone report, contested by many and supported by few.

The Europeans seem ready for a declaration in 2011. Will the U.S. be wise enough to not miss this train?

P.S. Just a few more words on Biden

There’s not much else to say about Israel announcing the construction of more housing units in East Jerusalem during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit. All the usual phrases have already been used: slap in the face, humiliation and so on.

As an Israeli, this is infuriating. The excuses make it even worse. When Netanyahu says that the “timing of the announcement was horrible”, what exactly was he thinking? That there’s a GOOD time to announce building in East Jerusalem? And what’s even worse than that, are the excuses along the lines of I wasn’t aware of the announcement”. A prime minister shouldn’t be too proud to show that he’s not exactly running a tight ship, to say the least.

But the most disappointing, maddening part of this was Biden’s light slap on Israel’s wrist. That’s all? We’re going to get away with it? Again?!?!

If I was an American watching Biden’s little reprimand on TV, I’d be mad at Israel – but even more embarrassed with the overwhelming weakness shown by the U.S. Vice President and the administration he represents.


If it Ain’t Right(wing), It’s Wrong

One of the most common slogans used by Israeli left-wingers is “the occupation corrupts”. Meaning, it corrupts Israeli society –¬†and even more importantly, it corrupts Israeli democracy.

But the damage that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has done in its first year is so overwhelming, one can only wonder what will happen if he’s lucky enough to stay in power for a full four-year term.

When Netanyahu was elected, everyone knew that peace would have to wait a few more years. The right-wing government he formed sent out the message loud and clear: the Palestinian people are of no importance whatsoever. The Iranian nuclear program is what’s on our¬†agenda.¬†¬†
But no one could foresee that a message was also being sent out on a daily basis to those inside his own country who try to voice a different opinion to that of the government.
In Israel, if you’re a Haredi demonstrating on the streets against opening a parking lot on the Sabbath – you’re OK. Police will watch¬†from afar.
If you’re a right-winger demonstrating on the streets against a settlement freeze – you’re OK. Police will watch¬†from afar.
But think twice before you go to Sheikh Jarrah, you lefty. You traitor. Better watch your back before you decide to take to the streets against evicting Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

And if you’re a foreigner, careful. We’ll have you deported if you’re not on our side.

Oh, and you lefties, you high falutin’ intellectuals better not create any “art” that doesn’t conform to the official propaganda of the ruling body.
I’ve subtitled the following video clip, an excellent item shown about a month ago on Channel 10. It shows how Israeli moviemakers are having it tough these days, if they’re not in line with the government’s stance.
This a very good piece, and it probably would not have been shown on the more popular Channel 2. They wouldn’t have the guts to endanger their ratings. Channel 10 news is known to take a few more chances, to ask questions that aren’t always asked. And although the reporter Talya Peled Keynan tries to play the devil’s advocate, she’s brave enough to¬†come out against what she sees as an attack on freedom of speech.
One of the most difficult parts to watch in this clip is an excerpt from a movie called “Checkpoints”, where an Israeli soldier questions a Palestinian family on their way to Nablus. The family is sick, and needs to see a doctor. The soldier, probably 19 years old, doesn’t believe them. The occupation has turned this young man into a doctor at a checkpoint, analyzing Palestinian patients.
I sympathize with both parties. With the family going through a humiliating interrogation. And I can also understand the young lad. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, there probably isn’t a day that goes by where he doesn’t ask himself: “Did I just let a suicide bomber through?”. The pressure is unbelievable.¬†

He doesn’t believe anything –¬†or anyone – anymore. The occupation has corrupted him.

May 2020

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