For days I have found myself enthralled by Miri Regev, as the Likud MK and former Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman mocks, roars, celebrates, dances and humiliates herself in taking unbridled pleasure in victory as she faces off against the members of some panel. And in the backdrop schoolchildren applaud. I know I was not the only one who enjoyed it, because the tarantella played a starring role on all the news broadcasts, certainly on Facebook, and there was consensus, quite off-putting, that it was all disgusting. I was enthralled by the ensuing embarrassment, and still am.
What exactly attracted me to her bizarre disparagement of journalist Mickey Rosenthal, who made the documentary "The Shakshuka System," about the connection between business and government? Or to the stupid epithet she used for Stav Shaffir, the social protest leader who is now a Labor Party candidate? Or to her complaints about Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich? Or to her call for applause, as though she were a stand-up comedian? And what attracted me to "Jerusalem forever," and to seeing the Israeli flag waving at the end of the dance?
There can be only one explanation for my pleasure, albeit a slightly wicked and insufficient one. For years Zionism has staged its downfall in grand ceremonies, after cruel wars or painful failures. And now that downfall can be seen on YouTube. Let it fall thus, I say; why not?
But that perspective can't be what gave me so much pleasure; after all, I have been watching this downfall surreptitiously for decades, and I have seen endless ridiculous performances. In those days, I took pleasure in them with but a small group of people (for example, at Menachem Begin's rousing performances in the Knesset before and during the first Lebanon war, performances that for some reason are no longer broadcast ).
I admit: My aesthetic pleasure stems from the total escapism I get from politics. They tell me that Regev constitutes a danger to our democracy. And I say: Regev is our democracy. Four million of the citizens of this democracy not only do not vote, they are not even allowed to prevent strangers from entering their house in the dead of night. This democracy, from their point of view, looks like Regev's tarantella, like the flag parade on Jerusalem Day, like our television satire, in which Palestinians are increasingly ridiculed in the lowest form of humor in the history of ridicule of the enslaved.
Our democracy calls on the public to take part in the game, because if not, the right-wing government will win. Democracy must therefore cooperate with Miri Regev, criticize her, be shocked by her, object to her, analyze her. And suddenly I enjoy my right to be outside the democratic game.
I wrote these words quickly because I presume that within a few days an article will appear here that reflects the thinking of the American left of the 1980s. An article packed with the political correctness that serves as crumbs for the poor, an article that would distinguish between the mockery Regev made of herself as a double victim - a Mizrahi woman - and the offensive, opponent-crushing dance that would be said to have been performed by a "white" man: a former IDF spokesman, an MK, a persecutor of refugees.
Identity politics, in its foolish provinciality, emulates American academic terminology not only 30 years late, but also while neglecting the subjects at hand in the original (Are Jews considered white in America? And who are the Israeli equivalent of American blacks? ) It's too bad the local scribblers haven't read the eulogies for identity politics that were written over there in the past decade.
I must therefore add to the depiction of my pleasure that Miri Regev is not only our democracy. Ironically, this carnival - and this is truly a carnivalesque experience - is the democratic ideal. The people are in power; witness the Mizrahi woman, the colloquial language, the authentic theatrics.
The radical vision of generations past is coming true. Power to the people, the weak are getting strong, the popular libido is rising from below. And in order to acknowledge this victory of real democracy, we should get out of the game. That is where the pleasure comes from. Intermezzo, they call it in the white, patriarchal West.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now