GOP Debate #10,924: The Israel Edition

Mustafa Tamimi. Photo by Haim Scwarczenberg

If you spent your Saturday night doing anything other than watching the GOP Debate in Iowa, you have much more of a life than me. In all honesty, these Republican debates do work really well as comedy, so let’s just pretend that I spent my Saturday night at a comedy show and not in front of a TV. Here’s what you missed.

  • Basically, everyone hates the government, but at the same time really want to run it.
  • Everyone loves Israel, except for Ron Paul, who is consistently critical of the inappropriate lovefest between the US and Israel. He’s kinda like that drunk uncle who talks about the gold standard 80% of the time and is right on the money  20% of the time.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, you have Newt Gingrich, who insists that Palestinians are an “invented” people. He invented them, along with supply-side economics, Ronald Reagan and “I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter.”
  • Mitt Romney doesn’t think it’s productive to call the Palestinians an invented people and crap on the two-state solution, which Netanyahu (nominally) supports, but that’s not because the Palestinians are actually human, it’s more because it’s not good diplomacy for Israel.
  • Romney really wants us to know that he and Netanyahu are BFFs. They are such good friends, in fact, that apparently Romney gets to call him a special nickname that sounds like Netanyahu but most certainly isn’t Netanyahu.
  • Rick Perry thinks Gingrich’s comments are a “minor issue that the media is blowing [poor word choice] way out of proportion.”

Meanwhile, that same day, just hours before the Republicans (minus Paul) made rhetorical love to Israel, Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old Palestinian, died after the Israeli Defense Forces defied their own rules of engagement and fired a tear gas canister at his head from close range. Somehow, that never entered into the conversation.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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Join the Conversation

  • nazza

    You expect a substantive debate where candidates talk about the complexity of issues? Now, that wouldn’t make for many soundbytes, would it?

    That would assume that problems could actually be confronted, then solved.

  • Jessica

    Since this post is now no longer on the first page, I’m not sure who will read my comment. However, this has been bothering me since it was originally posted. I was hoping someone else would speak up but it seems the time for that has come and gone. And with that, I’ve de-lurked (after about a year) to say this.

    I’d like to express my disappoint with Feministing’s coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As a Jew with family and friends who live, work and fight (as members of the IDF) in Israel, I feel alienated by this post and others like it. (To be clear, I’m not accusing Feministing of anti-semitism.) I rarely, if ever, see coverage of the conflict portraying Israel in a positive light. I’ve seen posts like this where one soldier makes the poor decision to violate the country’s national policy. (Yes, I read the original article and realize this is a systemic problem.) I’ve seen posts about brave Palestinians who report about daily life in the West Bank, but nothing that humanizes Israelis. Israel is absolutely NOT perfect, but to pretend that Palestine is, is ignorant at best. Israel often violates human rights, but so does Palestine. Yet I have never seen Feministing write about situations like Gilad Shalit’s ( After reading this post, I feel attacked. Language like, “the inappropriate lovefest between the US and Israel,” is severely one sided. I am a Feminist and a Zionist, but I get the feeling that ‘Zionism’ is a dirty word around here. I am not asking for any individual to change her/his opinion, but I would like more respect for both sides of the situation.

    And because I’m not the most eloquent person in the whole world. Here’s another blog post from a few years ago which better articulates many of the feelings I’m having: