Simon Tzabar: A dialogue on the nature of security

Shimon Tzabar: New design for the Israeli flag (2002)

Shimon Tzabar: New design for the Israeli flag (2002)

By Shimon Tzabar, Israel Imperial News – London, Oct 1968
The Shimon Tzabar Website

IOA Editor: A brilliant work by Shimon Tzabar (1926, Palestine – 2007, London), an artist, writer, poet, satirist, amateur mycologist, and a vocal fighter against the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. As relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1968, well before the term ‘racial profiling’ was known.

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[Two guardsmen in front of a cinema in Tel Aviv]

A: Not a thing.

B: No, not a thing.

A: Absolutely nothing.

B: You sound as if you’re complaining.

A: Good lord! Why should I complain?

B: You just sounded as if you were.

A: It’s because I’m bored.

B: How can you be bored defending your country?

A: I wish I were defending my country.

B: Of course you are.

A: The hell I am! Searching people’s pockets…

B: It’s our duty. You don’t want a bomb to go off in the cinema, do you?

A: But why me?

B: Somebody has to do it.

A: Yeah, somebody has to do it, but if we were a bit cleverer it wouldn’t be such a bore.

B: What do you mean?

A: Do we really have to search everybody?

B: You can’t tell Arabs from people.

A: But why can’t I?

B: Because you can’t.  If they’re clever, they’ll send someone fair, someone who doesn’t look very Arab.

A: But if we mark them…

B: What do you mean?

A: Make them all carry a mark.

B: What kind of mark?

A: Any mark. A star for instance. Something to distinguish them from the others.

B: Are you suggesting that every Arab should carry a mark on his clothes?

A: Exactly.  With a mark we could spot them immediately and search them. Save us time and trouble.

B: Don’t be ridiculous. We can’t do that.

A: Why?

B: Behave like Nazis? The world would despise us. We couldn’t do it.

A: Who cares about the world? The world didn’t care about us.

B: Even so; you can’t do it. We still need world sympathy.

A: To hell with world sympathy. Security is what we need.

B: You won’t get it by antagonising the rest of the world.

A: All right then. We can’t mark the Arabs, but we can still mark the Jews.

B: The Jews?

A: Yes, the Jews. Do you think they’ll object to that?

B: Who?

A: The world.

B: Marking the Jews?

A: Yes.

B: How shall we mark the Jews?

A: Same as usual. A yellow star. We’re already used to it.

B: Well…

A: The world can’t object to us wearing yellow stars, can it?

B: Well…

A: Don’t you see? They won’t be able to go into a public place without being identified and searched.

B: The Jews?

A: Idiot! The Arabs.

B: I see… Are you sure it will solve our security problem?

A: If this won’t solve it, nothing will.

 

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