Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Al Abbas Original Best Chicken

A recent episode of Larry David’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Season 8, Episode 3), which for some reason was placed at an extremely late hour on RTE’s TG4 schedule, features an unusually blunt treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, along with Larry’s unique brand of self-deprecating wit. Larry and his pal Jeff visit a "Palestinian chicken place" called "Al Abbas Original Best Chicken". It is noted for serving excellent chicken. The restaurant is believed to be broadly based on two Lebanese eateries in California. Interestingly David treats anti-Semitism as a given in the Palestinian movement. 


Classic lines

Larry [admiring a waitress in Al-Abbas]: Looks like they are planning the next intifada at this table but look at this woman, could be the next Mrs. David. What do you think about that?
Jeff: If by some chance she's going to get over her anti-Semitism, odds are not with you!
Larry: Really?
Jeff: Just my gut feeling.
Larry: Know what it is? You’re always attracted to someone who doesn’t want you, right? Well here you have someone who not only doesn't want you, doesn't even acknowledge your right to exist, wants your destruction… That’s a turn-on.

Classic lines

Marty: Proud Jews wear Yarmulkes [skullcaps].
Larry: Be proud here in the parking lot, you don’t need to be proud in there [Al Abbas].

Waitress in Al-Abbas: I Like you.
Larry: What’s not to like?
Waitress in Al-Abbas: ahh you’re a Jew.

A similar post is found at The Iconoclast.


builder man said...

Brilliant stuff! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. His satire of stereotypes of both sides is cutting and so funny! As the Palestinians are a Semitic people it is difficult for them to be anti-Semitic- some historians aver that they are the true descendants of the Israelites anyway! Lots more on the net on this episode. As Leonard Cohen said: 'America- the cradle of the best and the worst.' And this is definitely the best!

Rob Harris said...

Thank you Builder man. It is important to note Larry David is on record as supporting Israel, such as with his comment "There are some meshuggah Arabs in the Middle East".

It is very well understood that anti-Semitism refers specifically to hatred of Jews rather than other Semitic groups. The word itself was coined in the 19th Century as a pseudo-scientific term with a racial grounding, to describe the hatred of Jews but in fact it had a cultural/religious basis rather than a racial one. No one has to take my word for it. All the definitions in reputable dictionaries define the word as such. for example http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anti-semitism - "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group".

That is not to say other Semitic racial groups don't experience hatred. Clearly they do but the hatred of Jews is a very particular social phenomenon that does not apply to said groups. Hatred of Arabs (for example) takes on quite a different form, and there is considerably less antagonism toward those groups from the far-right, which espouses anti-Semitism most feverently. Some will say that is incorrect but none of those other groups are subjected to the kind of paranoid conspiracist theories that Jews are subjected to (e.g. ZOG). In fact Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians are supported by many segments of the Far-Right, such as David Duke, David Irving, and Alex Jones' network of websites such as Infowars. Clearly many are trying to redefine the word for a political agenda, as one sees from the far-right and far-left. Diluting the true meaning of the word "anti-Semitism" can only be negative. It deflects criticism of genuine anti-Semites and dilutes our understanding of this very real social phenomenon generally.

builder man said...

Thank you Rob Harris and I note your research on anti-Semitism. So I hope you agree with me that to link it with being anti-Israel is erroneous.
Anti-Israel that is, in the sense of the government's actions at any particular time, not the people.

Rob Harris said...

To automatically link anti-Semitism with being anti-Israel is wrong as no state or religion should be above criticism. On that we can agree. However, it not implicitly erroneous as some pro-Palestinians assert. People have all sorts of motives for doing X, and the fact that many on the far-right support Palestinianism is indicative if the fact that some target the sole Jewish state in the world just because it's Jewish.
Having said that no one should be automatically tagged anti-Semitic for merely criticising Israel.

Paul said...

Rob, good blog I'll add you to my blogroll having come here from Ted's place. Please feel free to leave comment on mine.

Rob Harris said...

Thanks Paul, I enjoyed reading some of your blog before. It has an interesting perspective. I commented on your blog and added it to the interesting blogs listing here, a dubious honour perhaps…