Gary Epstein
And now for something completely different . . .

Blame The Jews (A Fantasy In One Act)


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Ahmed (Daniel Radcliffe?) descends ladder stage left, into dimly lit tunnel.  Yahya (George Clooney?) is reviewing papers on his desk, paying no attention to offstage sounds of rockets, occasional screams, and falling buildings.

Ahmed: (hesitantly) Ummm, sir . . .?

(Yahya does not respond, so Ahmed slowly comes closer.)

Ahmed:  (a bit louder) Ummm, excuse me.  Sir.

Yahya looks up, is unimpressed, and returns to his papers.  Ahmed proceeds directly to the desk.

Ahmed:  Sir.  I must speak with you.  I have just been put in charge of public relations for the entire operation, and I need some guidance.

Now Yahya’s interest is piqued.

Yahya:  Another new PR guy.  What happened to Muhammad? Another Israeli drone?  I told him to stay in the tunnels and let Al Jazeera do the job.

Ahmed:  No.  He stayed in the tunnel, as you advised.  But he was in one of the UNRWA meeting rooms under the kindergarten when he was discovered with, uh, one of the teen age boy human shields.  Your people were able to find a building that the Israelis left standing and threw him off.  We’ve recorded it as a civilian casualty.  As far as the world is concerned, he was an 11-year old girl named Aisha.  But he left a big hole in the organizational structure.  So . . . I could use some guidance.

Yahya:  Blame the Jews.

Ahmed:  Oh we did.  We said that it was the result of indiscriminate artillery fire into a crowded neighborhood.  The thing is, our guys were so proud of punishing him that they took videos and put them on Instagram.  And they wrapped him in a Pride flag.  And it sort of fluttered as he fell.  So some of the less friendly media started to ask questions.

Yahya:  No problem.  Just blame the Jews.  Something like this falls under the “mostly peaceful” exception or the “fog of war” confusion. If the story gets some traction let our Queers for Palestine people know that the Jews are targeting gays. I promise you that no one cares when Arabs kill Arabs. Did you see any riots at Columbia about the slaughter in Syria?  Sudan?  Yemen?  So what guidance do you need?

Ahmed:  Well, first, perhaps some mission statement about our goals and aspirations.  If we refer them to our Charter, it says that we want to kill Jews and destroy their country.  I’d like to steer clear of that.

Yahya:  OK.  Let me provide some context.  When we defeated Fatah after the last election almost 20 years ago, what did we do?

Ahmed:  We killed them.

Yahya:  Whose fault was it?

Ahmed:  The Jews?

Yahya: Correct.  Who does the U.S. want to be in charge of Gaza after the war?

Ahmed:  The Palestinian Authority.

Yahya:  What will we do to them if that happens?

Ahmed: Kill them?

Yahya:  Correct.  And whose fault will it be?

Ahmed:  The Jews?

Yahya:  Correct. And when the EU and the US gave us billions of dollars for infrastructure and economic development, whose fault was it that we misappropriated the money and used it for munitions and tunnels?

Ahmed:  (Now, more confident) The Jews.

Yahya:  Excellent. And whose fault is it that we put rocket launchers in schools and hospitals and private homes?

Ahmed:  (pleased and proud) The Jews.

Yahya:  So why would we change a winning formula?  Just go out there and blame the Jews.

Ahmed:  Well, forgive me, but if I’m going to do this right, I need to start at the beginning.  There are some situations that I need to deal with that are a bit more complicated. And that gets me back to Instagram and other video evidence.  Our guys were not shy about their glorious activities on October 7.  They circulated images of them shooting civilians in cars, kidnapping girls and children, setting fire to houses with people inside, throwing grenades into shelters.  And . . . oh, yes . . . torturing people before they killed them. The Zionists have collected a lot of the film and are using it to promote the narrative that we are brutal, savage terrorists.

Yahya:  What’s your point?

Ahmed:  How do you want me to explain it or present it?

Yahya:  Blame the Jews.  Have you heard a word I said?  Have you had any training for this job?

Ahmed:  Yes, sir.  I was a journalism major at the University of California.  But I’m not sure that I’m making myself clear.  Maybe you didn’t hear me, or maybe I didn’t hear you. I know that you had that brain tumor problem when you were in the Israeli prison.  Anyway, the video shows us doing the killing, raping, and kidnapping–totally unprovoked.  And our guys are laughing and celebrating and calling their parents to brag about it.

Yahya:  Yes.  But it’s all the fault of the Jews.  Use some of the slogans.  Resistance is not terror.  By any means necessary.  If you get any pushback, just say that it never happened.  MSNBC, CNN, the NY Times, and the Washington Post will, at worst, simply say that divergent stories have emerged.  But they will put our version of the story in the headline.  “Blame the Jews” always works.  Always remember that nothing we do is our fault, because the Jews antagonized us, or oppressed us, or made us jealous, or reminded us that we pissed away 900 billion dollars building tunnels that we thought would defeat them.  And they refused to be defeated.  Whose fault is that?

Ahmed:  The Jews.  Got it.  How about the humanitarian crisis thing?  It seems pretty obvious to any rational observer that there is more aid coming into Gaza than ever before, that any shortages are caused by our glorious fighters hijacking the shipments, that, contrary to prior reports, there is no starvation and no threat of starvation in Gaza.  And our guys seem to be selling the humanitarian aid in flourishing markets.

Yahya:  Ahmed?  Are you gay?  Do you have sex with little boys?

Ahmed: (recoiling in horror) No.  Of course not.  Where did you get that idea?

Yahya:  I just made it up.  And if I suggested it to two or three of my guys, do you know what would happen?

Ahmed:  Yes. I would be another 11-year old girl fatality.

Yahya:  So go make something up.  Suggest to Al Jazeera and CNN that the right-wing Jews are stopping all shipments of food and medicine to Gaza.  Make sure that the cameras see the bloody, starving kids we collected.  The make-up costs a fortune.  And, if the questions get too tough, blame the Jews.  You won’t need to supply the reason.  Once you blame the Jews, the Times reporters come up with underlying theories.  Those kids in the newsroom went to the best colleges.  And they learned to . . .

Ahmed:  . . . blame the Jews.  Got it.   Just a few more things. Uh . . . we seem to be losing a lot of fighters and a lot of buildings.  Our fighters, and, if I may be so bold, you, are trapped like rats in a sewer.  The tunnels are being discovered and destroyed at a pretty rapid pace.  I know the “disproportionate” thing and the “war crime” thing, but is there some way to explain how badly we seem to be losing the actual fight?

Yahya:  Well, yeah.  We had this plan.  We’ve been to this dance before.  We knew the Israelis would have to come in if we kidnapped hostages and committed atrocities.  We spent billions of dollars building tunnels, booby-trapping houses, converting hospitals into command centers, hoping to draw them into an extended urban battle, where we would have the advantage, as well as lots of civilian shields.  We boldly predicted that Gaza would be a quagmire for them.  But . . . they have been amazing.  Those kids fight.  And they minimize civilian casualties.  And they go through walls, use artillery, and target our people with precision from the air.  So we are losing the shooting war.  But it doesn’t matter.  We are winning the war for hearts and minds.  Spain and Ireland have recognized a Palestinian State that doesn’t exist, because we killed babies.  The US is withholding weapons, even while we are holding American hostages. The more casualties we sustain, the more our position improves.  Throughout the world, people see Hamas as liberation warriors, and not a bunch of sociopathic thugs. 

Why? Because we realized that all we have to do is attack the Jews and blame them, rape the Jews and blame them, kidnap the Jews and blame them.

You have the easiest job in the world.  So leave me alone and go blame the Jews.

Ahmed:  I just have one more question.  About that brain tumor.  Is it true that you would have died if the Israelis hadn’t performed life-saving surgery?

Yahya:  Yes. I guess you can blame the Jews for that too.

About the Author
Gary Epstein is a retired teacher and lawyer residing in Modi'in, Israel. He was formerly the Head of the Global Corporate and Securities Department of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv, which he founded and of which he was the first Managing Partner. He and his wife Ahuva are blessed with18 grandchildren, ka"h, all of whom he believes are well above average. He currently does nothing. He believes he does it well.