Sunday, May 18, 2008

'Toward a Cultural Understanding of Israeli Anti-Iran Phobias,' (Haggai Ram)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad photographed with commanders of the Basij, a large semiofficial paramilitary whose several million members and officers are seen as a key constituency of the president.

Held since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual event traditionally dedicated to the eternal themes of love, peace, and harmony. Yet Israelis asked to pick a song for the 2007 contest in Helsinki paid little heed to these themes. Instead, they settled for “Push the Button,” a controversial number by an Israeli punk group called Teapacks; the song is generally understood as a description of life under the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran with its “crazy rulers.” Meanwhile, an Israeli fashion house (Dan Cassidy) commissioned a series of photos at a construction site in southern Tel Aviv that showed a topless model lying in a pit. The project was designed as a warning against the “holocaust” that would follow Iran's possible nuclear attack on Israel; the pit, as the project's creative director explained, represented “the mass grave of complacent Tel Aviv residents.”
Haggai Ram is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle East Studies, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva, Israel

In: International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 40: Issue 2 (May 2008), 249-268.


No comments: