Friday, February 06, 2009
Dana International & Tzipi Livni
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni campaigned today with Dana International, the transsexual dance diva, AP reported today. According to the report:
Livni held a noisy, colorful women's rally in Jerusalem, dancing to loud music and singing with Dana International, a popular transsexual entertainer. The pink-and-white themed attempt had a rock-concert feel, as throngs of people jostled to get a glimpse of Livni or have a picture taken with her.
Isn't that great, that with all of that Gaza blood on her hands, that she gets treated like a rock star?
Discussions of Dana International usually don't mention the fact that she is of Yemeni origin, and that early in her career, she recorded a number of hits in Arabic. I published an article on Dana International's popularity and notoriety in Egypt during the mid-1990's in Mass Mediations: New Approaches to Popular Culture in the Middle East and Beyond, ed. Walter Armbrust, University of California Press, 2000. You can read it here.
I have no idea whether Dana actually supports Tzipi, or if she was just paid to show up at the event.
What is even more alarming about the AP report on the run-up to the Israeli elections than Tzipi as a rock star is the rise of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party.
The Haaretz poll showed Lieberman surging to 18 seats, compared with Labor's 14. That sets Lieberman up as a kingmaker, holding the crucial swing votes that the winner will need to form a government. Lieberman clearly leans toward Netanyahu.
A tough-talking immigrant from Moldova who succeeded in turning a party for immigrants from the former Soviet Union into one with broad national appeal, Lieberman has centered his platform on attacking Israel's Arab citizens, demanding that they sign an oath of loyalty or lose their right to vote or be elected.
Perhaps his most polarizing policy is to redraw Israel's borders, pushing areas with heavy concentrations of Arabs outside the country and under Palestinian jurisdiction.
Lieberman appears to be capitalizing on a swell of anti-Arab sentiment among Israelis, fueled partially by the rocket fire from Gaza that sparked Israel's recent offensive there.
The number three party in Israel, the kingmaking party, may well be one that advocates ethnic cleansing. (I should add that Israel launched the offensive against Gaza, starting on November 4. The rocket fire from Gaza came in response to Israel's aggression. This erroneous claim, of course, is repeated endlessly in the US media.)