By Jesse Bacon
The global Israeli Public Relations machine has been in full swing, what with ads comparing Israel to a man with undersized genitalia
or a whole series of videos to debunk the supposed myths that Israelis ride camels, only eat kebabs, or are bombing people when it’s just really one big Independence party with fireworks!
Well even if that latter debunking is effective, there’s still the problem that sometimes a missile really is just a missile,. For instance, in the recent Gaza war when Israel shelled densely populated civilian areas. But that too can be a party! Here’s an Israeli company showing off its country’s cultural diversity, remaining regional alliances, respect for “indigenous” cultures, and sense of fun with a “Bollywood” style ad from military contractor Rafael aimed at promoting arms deals with India. Because nothing says “security” like the gift of cheap weaponry! Haaretz calls it the “most atrocious” military ad ever, which would truly be saying something. As Prince says, “Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last.” Neither, apparently was Israel’s image in the world. (h/t to Ali Abunimah)
Outrageous, blundering, ignorant and offensive as it is, the promo offers a lucid demonstration of the interdependent compound of racism and sexism embedded in Israel’s militarization. As feminist scholars have been showing for years, militarization necessarily involves “othering”—of a fearful, (usually) racialized enemy on the one hand and a vulnerable, weak, feminized protégé on the other. The Raphael sales clip indeed depicts its “friends” as racialized, feminized and inferior “others”. Their progress and security, the clip explains in so many jingle lyrics, lies in succumbing to the masculine, black leathered, superior protector and acquiring Raphael’s arms systems.”