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Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

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  • Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

    Author: Ray Hanania (Palestine/USA) - February 9, 2008

    (Chicago) — Well, I’m off this morning on a 10-day tour of selected campuses in the United States for the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour to see if the experiment works in the US as well as it has in Israel and Palestine.

    The reality is that Israelis and Palestinians in Israel and Palestine are not as extremist as Israelis and Palestinians are in the US … I think the reason is because Israelis and Palestinians in the US live in a form of subliminal guilt. They live inluxury while their people back in the Middle East live the real conflict. So, I get more pushback from Arabs and Jews in the United States because I “crossed the line” and dared to appear with an “Israeli” — it’s called the taboo that also exists among many Jewish Americans and Israelis, too. But, the difference is it is more so here in the US than in Israel and Palestine.

    The shows are sponsored by MASA/Israel Journeys. They organize trips for Americans Jewish students to spend asemester in Israel (I wish the Arabs were smart enough to organize similar programs as effectively). I’m not against Israel or Israelis, but I am against some Israeli policies, as I am also against some Palestinian and Arab policies.

    Here’s the tour information and the campuses, in case you are in the area.

    The media coverage has been massive and I can’t keep up with it but you can see some of the reports including the Los Angeles Times story and NPR at www.IPComedyTour.com. The tour ends at the three day conference at Limmud LA in Coast Mesa where we perform two evening shows!

    Here’s the schedule. I’ll post during the trip.

    Ray Hanania

    (PS … I also started a new expanded live radio talkshow in Chicago on WCEV 1450 AM Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 PM …
    (www.RadioChicagoland.com) as well as building the new “Point to Point: Online TV Interviews with no boundaries” at www.ArabAmericanTVOnline.com)


    =============

    Feb. 9 - 18, 2008 Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour College Tour
    Hosted by MASA/Israel Journey

    Feb. 9, SAT: University of Wisconsin, Madison: Overture Center for the Arts, 8 PM

    Feb. 10, SUN: University of Chicago, Chicago:(View Poster?): PM Reynolds Club, Third Floor Theater, 6 PM

    Feb. 11, MON: University of Iowa, Iowa City: Englert Theatre, 7 PM
    Feb. 12, TUES: Ohio State University, Columbus: Wexner Jewish Student Center, 7:30 PM

    Feb. 13, WED: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Michigan League Underground, 8 PM

    Feb. 14, THURS: Washington University at St. Louis, Missouri: Brown Hall, 7 PM

    Feb. 15-17, FRI-SUN: Limmud LA Conference Costa Mesa, California: Hilton Hotel, Orange County/Costa Mesa

    http://www.mideastyouth.com/2008/02/...in-usa-begins/

  • #2
    Re: Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

    Did you hear the one about Israeli-Palestinian comedy night? The rehearsals were going really well until the Israelis occupied the Palestinian half of the stage.


    *boom boom* :D

    disclaimer: I stole this joke from another moderator at Ummah.com who I won't name *cough*blunder*ahem* master *cough*
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    • #3
      Re: Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

      Did you hear that Madonna is looking to buy a home in Israel?

























































      Today the Palestinians told Israel 'Ok,ok you can have the land back.'

      --Jay Leno

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      • #4
        Re: Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

        that joke makes no sense :scratch:
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        • #5
          Re: Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

          Originally posted by dhakiyya View Post
          that joke makes no sense :scratch:
          No one wants to be neighbors with Madonna....

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          • #6
            Re: Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

            I see. I guess I'm not very clued up about popular culture lol.
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            • #7
              Re: Israeli/Palestinian College Comedy Tour Begins

              Israeli-Palestinian Comic Troupe Brings Show To Iowa

              By MEGHAN BARR | Associated Press Writer
              11:06 PM CST, February 11, 2008

              COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Jews lined up on one side of the room, the Arabs on the other, eyeing each other suspiciously. The occasion was a happy one -- a wedding, in fact -- but hostilities ran high.

              It's not every day, after all, that an Arab comedian marries a practicing Jew.

              "We didn't have a bridal party. We had a UN peacekeeping force, right down the middle," says Ray Hanania, recalling his wedding day in a joke that roused laughter across Israel. The standup comic visited the Holy Land with three Jewish comedians last year during the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour, a show that tries to break down cultural barriers in the strife-ridden Middle East.

              The troupe -- which earned rave reviews across the region -- has brought its act to the United States in a tour of college campuses, including a performance Monday night at the University of Iowa.

              The small band of comedians spins jokes from both sides of the bloody conflict. In Israel, they sought to ease suffering through laughter. Now they're trying to score some American laughs and dispel prevailing stereotypes of Israelis and Palestinians.

              The dichotomy of watching Hanania, a Palestinian-American, perform alongside comedian Yisrael Campbell -- a Catholic-turned-Orthodox Jew -- may turn heads, but that is entirely the point, Hanania says. Aaron Freeman, a comic who converted to Judaism, and Charley Warady, whose jokes about Israeli life and politics have graced Comedy Central, round out the group.

              Breeding humor from the ashes of violence is still a relatively new phenomenon, though standup comics are known for building their acts around taboo subjects such as racism and prejudice. When it comes to making light of death on the Gaza Strip, however, the laughs can be a tougher sell.

              "We don't make fun of the death and the killing, but we do make fun of the stuff that goes behind justifying it," Hanania says.

              Their material delves into controversial waters, mocking Hamas suicide bombers and the Israeli government in a single breath. One segment spoofing the musical "West Side Story" -- "West Bank Story" -- features song lyrics such as: "When I will go back to Jerusalem, I'll start a delicatessen; all Arabs will praise to Allah, thank you for each oil dollar."

              At the troupe's U.S. debut in Chicago, where they played to a predominantly Jewish audience, some jokes wrought an uncomfortable pause but no boos.

              "We got no complaints after the show at all," says Dr. Hal M. Lewis, a professor at The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, which hosted the sold-out performance last month. "No one indicated that they thought it might be inappropriate or too much."

              A former president of the Palestinian American Congress, a nonprofit activism group, and nationally syndicated columnist, Hanania is accustomed to controversy. A public disagreement with a Jewish comedian over the conflict in 2002 ended his relationship with a popular Chicago comedy club, and he was labeled a "terrorism supporter" by conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel in an August column on her Web site.

              "We think part of the big deal is, you know, Western perception," Hanania says. "The way people look at the conflict. The U.S. has a major influence over what happens in the Middle East."

              Americans are wary of offending each other, troupe member Freeman says.

              "In Israel it's a much freer, open discussion about Israeli-Palestinian matters than in the U.S.," Freeman said. "There's far less political correctness in Israel."

              MASA Israel Journey, which sponsors trips to Israel for young Jewish Americans, is coordinating with Jewish student groups such as Hillel, a national Jewish organization on college campuses, to publicize the show on campuses. In turn, the Jewish groups are reaching out to Arab organizations, recruitment associate Megan Schiff said.

              Zohar Bahar Ben-Hai, 27, an Israeli, serves as the Israel fellow at OSU's Hillel and is helping to plan the event, which she hopes will help launch a student dialogue about Middle East affairs on campus. Compared with Israelis and Palestinians, Americans tend to make harsher judgments about the conflict, sometimes based on inaccurate information, she said.

              "What I had expected is that as a third party that is not really involved in the conflict, there would be a deeper understanding of both sides," Bahar Ben-Hai said. "But I see so many people just forming perceptions and arguments without trying to see the other side."

              It remains to be seen how the show will go over as the funnymen take their act on the road. At least 500 students had RSVP'd to the performance Tuesday at Ohio State University, which is booked in an auditorium that can seat up to 600 people.

              Rammy Korkor, 21, a Syrian Arab student, serves as co-president of One Voice, a student-run group that organizes social events to bring together Muslim and Jewish students at OSU. Korkor plans to attend the show with several friends, who are of Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian descent.

              "It's just the symbolism of one night of us all in the same room laughing and being happy," he said. "And realizing that together we can laugh, and together we can learn."

              The tour also will swing through campuses in Michigan, Missouri and California, among other places. And after that?

              "Once we conquer the United States, we're gonna try to conquer the West Bank," Hanania says. "I've offered to do a fundraiser for a Hamas suicide bombing retirement home."

              http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,3214958.story

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