The title is a hoax. Lame I know. This title was inspired by an article I read here, which talks about an Israeli Palestinian-sympathizer (named Saar Szekely) who has made it to the Big Brother finale (Israeli version of the famous reality show).
This video shows a subtitled conversation between Saar and his housemates about the Palestinian issue. Watching the video has made me wonder whether Israelis are hopelessly brainwashed by Zionist fibs or they know deep down that what they are doing is wrong but they still believe they have an exclusive right to do it because they’re fated to be persecuted Jews. Either way, they are very similar to us in their general political outlook with respect to this conflict.
Let me just say that initially, I was in conspiracy-thinking mode and I was convinced that this guy is actually a Mossad agent posing as a Palestinian-sympathizer in order to send a clear political message to the world – Israel is the beacon of the Middle East and so no matter how terrorist- and racist-like it might appear, it is actually better still than all Arabs put together. The fact that a friendship has supposedly blossomed between this guy and an ex-IDF soldier (also a contestant in the show) who had declared in his audition tape “I hate Arabs more than I hate cancer” made me even more set in my conviction. There were also other minor corroborating instances such as the fact that leftwingers are rarely that good-looking, or neatly-shaved. Am not saying that there aren’t Israeli leftwingers, I just don’t believe the scenario of this reality TV show is real. If it were, the real conflict would have been resolved long ago. In addition, genuine Israeli leftwingers can’t survive long enough in Israel, its political environment is too toxic for them. They end up either leaving or converting to the Zionist creed.
However, there are a few things which don’t quite fit with this conspiracy theory: this guy is actually quite popular amongst the show’s audience, even though the majority of his housemates and supporters still admit they don’t agree with his views and he’s considered a radical lefty and even a traitor or at least unpatriotic. He is good-looking though so…He is also quite articulate as shown in the video above. The other thing is that the producers of the show knew about Saar’s political agenda as he’d came clean about his reasons for wanting to be on the show in his audition. They still decided to let him through because sticking a ‘crazy’ lefty in is an easy way to stir things up in an Israeli Big Brother house. What they didn’t expect is for him to get that far into the show without being evicted. He is not expected to win, but if he does I would seriously revert back to my initial conspiracy theory.
According to this article by an Israeli Big Brother fan, this is not the first time a loony lefty is allowed into the Israeli Big Brother house, but none of the previous ones have gained such popular sympathy. So these facts seem to suggest that this wasn’t completely planned and it is a genuine surprise turn of events. Nevertheless, I find the conspiracy theory more comforting, I must admit. Because if it were really true that Israeli society is receptive to such ‘radical’ views that it perceives as the anti-thesis of the Israeli State founding principles, then it would mean that they are not as evil as I believe they are. This reshuffles some deeply rooted beliefs in my psyche and bothers me.
I do wonder however what would have been the result if the guy was actually a Palestinian (I mean an Arab Israeli citizen). This would have been more interesting and more…authentic. Still, it is interesting how the other housemates have reacted to Saar’s views. Here you can read a short exchange between two Jewish people and a Palestinian about the Saar Phenomenon.
In any case, using a show like Big Brother to voice political views and probe the audience’s response to them is a clever thing. British Palestinian-sympathizer George Galloway did use Big Brother to bring the Palestinian issue to the public attention. Perhaps this is where the Israelis got the idea from. I don’t really watch Arab reality TV shows, but I know that most are singing competitions or Qur’an reciting ones. I have no recollection of a show which has taken a political twist and I certainly cannot imagine that there would be an Israel-sympathizer who would gain public support in such programmes. Although perhaps if he looked like Mouhaned, it might help his case.
But why has no Arab State thought of instrumentalizing unpopular political causes in a reality TV show? Or using reality TV to illustrate a diverse political microcosm? Too buzy controlling the women and/ or butchering ‘insurgents’ probably.
It would be interesting to see political Big Brother-type TV programmes on ENTV one day. Wouldn’t it be hilarious?! Just imagining possible scripts gives me the giggles. I actually think it would have an educational value as well, for the young masses. I’d put a harki there with a bunch of fake anciens Mudjahids, a repented terrorist and a radical Secularist former DRS agent, a niqabed feminist militant and human rights activist whose husband went missing during the civil war, a successful Algerian businesswoman living in America and married to an American evolutionary biologist who has strongly negative views on religion, a ‘normal’ Algerian couple, some Jewish pied-noirs, a wannabe harrag, a Marxist intellectual university professor, a Kabyle separatist and one recently converted to Christianity.
I think if such a mix were ever on ENTV, our tellies would get spontaneous combustion.