Jaynie Levinson — Connecting Jewish Young Adults
Is it Possible to Laugh About the Middle East Conflict?
The 2015 Jewish and Israeli Film Festival kicked off with a biting hilarity on Saturday night with the award winning film “Peace After Marriage.” The premise of the film centered around a porn-addicted, 30-something Palestinian-American in Brooklyn. To appease his parents’ desire for him to marry and to find enough money to move out on his own, he accepts an offer to marry a woman so she can get her green card. It turns out this woman is Israeli, which is when the hilarity and absurdity ensues.
Check out a trailer for the move here.
Afterward, the writer and star, Ghazi Albuliwi, answered questions and did stand-up comedy. He poked fun at himself and Islam, and he made irreverent comments to the effect of “Every time ISIS beheads someone, I say to myself, ‘Well, there goes six more months of celibacy.”
I posed a question to my friend after the movie: “What if Israelis and Palestinians could see this movie? Maybe it would ease the tension a little?”
Ok, it’s wishful thinking. No, it doesn’t solve any problems. But what if we could laugh at our conflict? And laugh together and at ourselves? This movie poked fun at both Muslims and Jews. I found myself walking out of the theater thinking less about what this conflict actually means or which side I’m on, and more about how we’re all so similar. At the end of the day, we all want the same love and stability the other group wants. So why are messages like this marginalized to the fringes, or only accessible on film festival circuits?
On the #CincyBirthright trip, our tour education Erez shared a song with us on the hostile Israel border with Lebanon and Syria. It’s called the: Love song to Islamic Fundamentalists (from a Jew). While goofy and outlandish, the song somewhat resonates with me.
Both the writer of this song and Albuliwi let the viewer laugh a little at this conflict and hatred…and in many ways simplifies what the fighting is about. At first glance, they both seem like hippie, tree-hugging, unrealistic thoughts. But what if we made them a reality? What if more people could hear these messages? Again, it doesn’t solve any conflict. But if more artists could find way to spread these messages of love, the similarities in us all, and silly humor, maybe, just maybe, wouldn’t we be on a better path than the status quo?