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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Israel's Cellcom commercial controversy

Commercials are entertaining. They familiarize us with old songs and popularize new ones. They spark catch phrases…I’m thinking about that wassuup one…I’m sure there are others. I don’t think they can spark peace, though.

When I first heard about this commercial, I was immediately sympathetic to the concern that it is making light of the Wall that is illegal and causes misery for so many- it’s not even supposed to be there. I did feel a bit guilty for a split second that maybe my taking sides was unnecessary when the ad voice over was just talking about everyone wanting to have fun and everyone was playing the game. But there are no Palestinians in the ad, which is odd, so whether it is so ingrained in Israeli society or it was an intentional slight, I think it says something. Not only is there a wall (at which peaceful protesters die, people and land are cut off, land is confiscated), but Israelis cannot bear to portray “the enemy” or those with whom they seek peace.

Maybe it was an innocent commercial, but I bet they carefully avoided images that would insult Israeli “sensibilities” that would more adequately describe working beyond barriers - breaking down the wall, jumping over it, parting it, portraying a section that has the wall currently simply without it or with a ghost of it, etc.

So, maybe it’s not so innocent?

That was the commercial. Then there’s the real life attempt. Maybe the residents of Bili’in had a “good idea, bad idea” moment and picked the wrong one. Was it hope, a spirit of nonviolence, pure curiosoity or a desire to provoke that caused them to toss the ball? Or maybe it is an analogy for the conflict.

THE commercial:

The village of Bili’in and the commercial

Palestinians mock 'bad taste' ad

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