It’s a dog’s life for Israel’s pet politicians

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(Judith, a university student in her early-20s picks up the TV remote and sits down on her living room sofa. The TV comes on, and she calls to her mother.) “Hey mom, what channel is that reality show of yours on?”

MOTHER: “87.”

JUDITH: “It’s not here. There’s some kind of political talk show.”

MOTHER (comes in from the kitchen) Oh, I forgot! Damned cable company shuffled the channels again. Try channel…Hey, isn’t that Brian Cohen? Oooh, I like him! He made mincemeat of that idiot Stephen Harper on Face of the Nation. Looks like he’s got a new show. (She sits down next to Judith) Turn it up! Turn it up!”

BRIAN COHEN: “… and welcome again to Pet Politicians, the show where we talk to politicians and the animals they love. Today, I’m pleased to welcome to the show Alan Baker, Israel’s ambassador to Canada. Welcome, Alan.”

ALAN BAKER: “Good to be here, Brian.”

COHEN: “And I see you brought two friends along.” (The two men are sitting in club chairs across from each other in a den-like room. Two dogs are sitting in front of Alan Baker and jumping up for attention.) “Who’s this” (pointing to the shar-pei).

BAKER: “This is Harper. I’ve had her for about four years now.”

COHEN: “Harper? Did you name her after Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?”

BAKER: “Nope–”the prime minister. Despite the difference in sex, it seemed like the logical thing to do.” The four-legged one here (Baker starts petting Harper enthusiastically) doesn’t bark and is easy to please.”

COHEN: “Er, how do those factors relate to the two-legged Harper?”

BAKER: “The prime minister can absolutely be relied on not to make Israel look bad. No matter what news might get reported by anti-Israeli news hounds or other governments, Stephen doesn’t say anything. He’s absolutely loyal. It’s almost as if he doesn’t know any bad news is going on. (To Harper) Just like you, huh girl? Who doesn’t make a fuss, eh? Who’s a good dog! (Harper jumps up and licks Baker’s face repeatedly.)

COHEN: “That’s not very complimentary of the prime minister, though, is it?”

BAKER: “Sure it is! Canada doesn’t need to hear the story of how Israelis are killing Palestinians for their organs to sell on the black market. Just because some anti-Semitic Swedish newspaper chose to print this ‘blood libel’ doesn’t mean Harper has to give it credibility by talking about it. Also, when Israel threw two Arab families out of their homes in East Jerusalem where they had lived for 56 years, many in the world turned on Israel. Not Stephen! Not a peep.”

COHEN: “But these stories are true. Israel has been killing Palestinians for their organs, at least since 1992, and Israel has no right to any part of East Jerusalem. That’s Palestinian land under international law and…

BAKER: “True? False? International law? What’s the difference! If news makes Israel look bad it’s anti-Semitic!” (Baker is starting to get a little testy.)

COHEN: (changes tack fast) “So-o-o, Harper the shar-pei…she looks pretty healthy.”

BAKER: (calmed down) “Yes, we take good care of her. I stroke her regularly, give her treats when she’s been especially good, and feed her a special food, the same one she had when she was a pup.”

COHEN: “Did you get her from a breeder?”

BAKER: “Yes, we went to B’nai Brith Kennels. They have an excellent record in breeding and developing dogs in Ottawa. All their animals are fed Hasbara, a food specially formulated to make them look good and feel good. B’nai Brith also spays and neuters all its animals and conducts rigorous obedience training.”

COHEN: “So she listens to you?”

BAKER: “Does she ever! She rolls over and plays dead on command, always keeps two steps behind me….”

COHEN: “I assume this trait is also analogous to the PM.”

BAKER: “Of course. What else but ‘obedient’ can you call a politician who puts Israel’s interests ahead of his own citizens’ constitutional rights? For example, Abousfian Abdelrazik, tortured in his native Sudan, was kept in the Canadian embassy for a year before being allowed to return home to Canada.

“Suaad Hagi Mohamud, a Toronto woman, was stopped at Nairobi’s airport because an official (chuckle!) didn’t think her lips matched her passport photo. Rather than help her, Harper upheld our policy of Muslim profiling and forced her to endure an 11-week ordeal and a DNA test to prove her identity.
“Of course, Harper’s refusal to do anything to bring child soldier Omar Khadr home from Guantánamo is legendary.” (The other dog, a chihuahua, has been yipping throughout the interview and now Baker finally picks her up.) “Yes, Kenney, I see you, there! I haven’t forgotten you!”

COHEN: “Kenney?! Do I have to ask?”

BAKER: “Probably not, but you might as well.”

COHEN: “Is she named after immigration minister Jason Kenney?”

BAKER: “Not exactly, She’s named for the Jason Kennels, where we got her. It’s the small-dog subsidiary of B’nai Brith Kennels. Still, there are similarities with the minister.”

COHEN: “Such as?”

BAKER: “She’s very touchy and goes into barking hysterics at the least provocation. Quite the opposite of Harper, actually.”

COHEN: “How does that make her like Jason Kenney?”

BAKER: “Earlier this year, during Israel’s operation in Gaza, Khaled Mouammar, president of the Canadian Arab Federation, called Kenney a ‘professional whore who supports war.’ Kenney went barking mad! He went and cut off all federal funding to CAF. That was clearly an uncalled-for overreaction, but it’s understandable. It just kills Kenney to hear anyone condemn Israel’s right to defend its homeland.”

COHEN: “But the concept of a ‘Jewish people’ was debunked by no less than an Israeli scholar Professor Shlomo Sand, so the idea of a Jewish ‘homeland’ is logically fallacious.” (Kenney starts to growl and bark.)

BAKER: “See what happens when you upset Kenney?”

COHEN: “Indeed. Well that’s all the time we have. Thank you, Alan Baker, for being our guest. (They reach across and shake hands.) And thank you for bringing Harper and Kenney. It just proves that there’s no bitch like a political bitch. See you next time on Pet Politicians.”

MOTHER: (presses the mute button) “Whoa! You don’t see that kind of honesty on regular TV. Now that’s reality! What channel is this?”

JUDITH: “WTFN.”

MOTHER: “Better make a note of it.”

The End

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