Cutting through the bullshit.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Loyatly and honesty

Esterina Tartman, chairwoman of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, who was promoted to Minister for Tourism in the Ehud Olmert government on Sunday, has now stepped down. On Tueday, in a television interview, she asserted ‘any citizen who is not loyal to the idea of a Jewish state, his citizenship should be rescinded’.

Her remarks should be seen in light of recent analysis by Jonathan Cook indicating that Israel is engaged in a gradual campaign to complete the ethnic cleansing left unfinished in 1949, in part by requiring Palestinian citizens of Israel to swear loyalty oaths or relinquish their citizenship.

According to the report in the SMH,

Her remarks coincided with a parliamentary ethics committee deciding not to take action against her for recently criticising the appointment of Israel's first Arab Muslim minister as "assimilation" and "a lethal blow to Zionism".

It’s rather heartwarming that such a vicious racist has gone to some lengths to discredit herself. It transpires that

Ms Tartman had been awarded more than 2.5 million shekels ($750,000) in state and private compensation for a 1997 traffic accident that she claimed had left her with impaired memory and concentration and unable to work for more than four hours a day. Fourteen months ago she managed to have this award increased on appeal.

Ha'aretz followed this up on Tuesday by reporting that despite her disability Ms Tartman had gone on to win a Knesset seat, chair the state audit committee and her own party caucus, set up an employment agency, act as marketing manager for a chemicals company and serve as director and committee member for an insurance agency.

It also emerged this week that she has wrongfully claimed to have a master's degree from the prestigious Hebrew University and a degree from Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv.

I fear, however, that what’s odd about ‘Tartarina’ is not the nature of her views, but her forthrightness in expressing them in public.

Meanwhile, Ha’aretz reports,

A proposed constitution written by the Israeli Arab advocacy center, Adalah, states that Arab Knesset members will be able to bring about the disqualification of bills that impinge on the rights of Arabs, and classifies the State of Israel as a "bilingual and multicultural" country rather than a Jewish state.

A courageous move in the current climate.


  1. Israel-watching is always good for a laugh. The Tartman scandal seemed to have more to do with the dude who replaced her than the actual racist clown herself, though. After laughing her out of the proposed seat in cabinet, they're pretty much stuck with Aharonovitch, who is less flamboyantly ridiculous but no better in terms of his opinions.

    And did you notice Israel's bid for a Eurovision entry? It was picked for popular appeal and selected via a public "vote by SMS" campaign. The lyrics basically threaten (in their last verse) to be the first to "push the button".

    Making this even better, when the European organizations questioned the taste of singing about, well, a worldwide nuclear holocaust as a desired objective, Israel pulled out the accusations of anti-Semitism.

    Israel. Where reality is composed by satire writers. If they didn't have a bomb connected to that button it would be *funny*.

  2. No, I didn't know that about the song, but that kind of thing doesn't surprise me. I was forced to watch the Eurovision final a year or two ago and don't enjoy that kind of music. However, since I support the cultural boycott, I'm of course appalled that they would accept any Israeli entry whatsoever.

  3. These are the lyrics in English presented in the Independent (

    The world is full of terror
    If someone makes an error
    He's gonna blow us up to biddy biddy kingdom come
    There are some crazy rulers they hide and try to fool us
    With demonic, technologic willingness to harm
    They're gonna push the button
    push the button push the bu, push the bu, push the button
    Everybody's suffering
    The streets are filled with violence
    How lucky we are
    To have got this far
    Without even getting injured
    As this regime, so fanatical
    Gets even more tactical
    It's so tragic my eyes fill with tears
    And I don't want to die
    I want to see the flowers bloom
    Don't want a go capoot ka boom
    And I don't want to cry
    I wanna have a lot of fun
    Just sitting in the sun
    Messages are exploding on me
    Rockets are flying and landing on me
    Police and thieves are chasing me
    Jumping on me and pestering me
    Woe is me, woe is me, answer me oh living God
    This nightmare is too long
    When I am barely living and everyone is aiming at me it is too early, perhaps, to sing that I have given you my life
    Wha, Wha the police
    Weeoo, weeoo a rescue team
    Here it is in the semi-finals without salaam
    Red is not only a colour, it's more like blood.

    In this version, it says 'They're gonna push the button...' The antecedent of 'they' is 'some crazy rulers'. So if the translation in the Independent is complete and accurate, I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Is it different in Hebrew, Shunra? Or have they omitted something from what they've entitled 'The offending lyrics'? Or is there some coded message or implication that doesn't come through in English? Or what?

  4. It is very different in Hebrew, I think.

    My translation of the Hebrew-only section of the song follows:

    Messages are exploding onto me
    Missiles fly and even fall on me
    Cops and robbers run on me
    And they jump on me, leach off me,
    Dear God please answer me, hey
    This nightmare has been going on too long
    When I’m barely alive and they all aim [weapons?] at me it is to early to sing, perhaps
    That I gave you my life [allusion to famous Israeli pop/nonsense song which states that “I gave you my life – and disappeared”]
    Whoowhoo – the police
    Woowoowoo – a rescue crew
    Here it is at the pre[-Eurovision] competition, it has no Salam [Arabic for peace]
    Red is not a color it is more like blood
    It catches your breath in your heart again
    Your soul should only not expire
    Here is war, here is the soul
    Boom boom is what is happening now
    Between a rocket and machete, a viewer and reporter
    Between a power-grab and abductee, between rainy and hot weather
    Escalation goes up the stairs and takes its place along the [defense] line
    Nothing, nothing – that’s what everyone is doing
    Extremists get more extreme and officers get more officious
    Innocents get more innocent, waiting for data
    And they reply that everyone is powerless
    A world fully demonic, that we are just pawns
    And champions with chips decide what will go on
    Slow and lazy, a boat full of water
    And everyone drinks cheers – lechayim! – and drowns alongside each other
    Maybe it’s too sharp – we should sing songs of palms, dessert songs, with no flags
    I am still alive, alive, alive, and if it keeps on being scary
    Then all I’m gonna say is
    I’m gonna push the button
    push the button push the bu push the bu push the button

    Let me know if you want me to email you a side-by-side version - every line accounted for...

  5. Thanks for that, Shunra. It clarifies things a bit, although I'm never too sure that I'm interpreting verse texts as intended. But your transaltion definitely says 'I'm gonna push the button' rather than 'They', as in the Independent's version.

    If you want to email me anything, please don't hesitate. If you have something interesting to contribute to an understanding of this issue, as seems to be the case, why not make it the subject of a post on your own blog?

  6. Because I'm far too scared to.

    But thanks for listening - and responding - here.

  7. I'm not sure what's frightening you, Dena, is it?, especially as you've already put your translation in the public domain here. Anyhow, bseder, your call. If you want to email me, just click on 'View my complete profile', then 'email' under 'Contact'.

  8. 5N6Zct Hello! Great blog you have! My greetings!