Global, Identity, Israel

The Arab Cosby — is an Ethiopian Cosby next?

A new Israeli TV show could be doing for Israel what “The Cosby Show” did for blacks in America. This from the Kansas City Star:

Arab WorkAmjad is a neurotic Arab-Israeli journalist who desperately wants to fit in.
He teaches his daughter Passover songs and wears a yarmulke when he takes his family to a Jewish Seder. He trades in his beat-up old Subaru for a more expensive “non-Arab” car so that he won’t get stopped at Israeli checkpoints.
But nothing Amjad does seems to exorcise his feelings of alienation as the central character in “Arab Work,” a groundbreaking new Israeli prime-time television sitcom that features an Arab-Israeli family struggling to assimilate in the Jewish nation.

As a sitcom and not a documentary, it thus follows the (new) old pattern of tech-endowed countries’ methods of change: a taboo and controversial topic can be broached if it’s funny. (Take for example “Now I Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.”)
It’s great that this show is doing for Israeli Arabs what Cosby did for blacks in America. Now I just wonder whether they’ll run a show in Israel which will the same for, well, blacks in Israel as hundreds of Ethiopians rallied in Petach Tikva on Tuesday to protest racist policies in the city’s education system and in Israel in general.
Ynet covers with a special investigative story here. Excerpt:

Ethiopians rally in IsraelAvi Maspin, a spokesman for IAEJ, said that “racism is a word that I have feared using until now, because I did not believe that it could exist in Israel in 2007, but the time has come to call a spade a spade. Israeli society is profoundly infected by racism and unfortunately there is no suitable punishment for racism in Israel.”

5 thoughts on “The Arab Cosby — is an Ethiopian Cosby next?

  1. “a taboo and controversial topic can be broached if it’s funny. (Take for example “Now I Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.”)”
    Chuck/Larry was “funny”? I would have gone with “demeaning”.

  2. It’s sounds like the show it based on Said Kashua, the columnist for Haaretz. He’s a cranky, self-obsessed, and neurotic writer – his favorite (well, only) topic is how crappy it is to be an Arab in Israel.

  3. By calling this show “the Arab Cosby” are you implying that the original Cosby show was about a black family trying to assimilate into mainstream white american society? If so, is due to the fact that these fictional characters embraced education and professionalism which are supposedly lacking in the black community? So therefore as the Arab man in this drama is acting “Jewish” by doning a yarmulke the Cosbys are “acting white” by not exhibiting the stereotypical characterizations of black americans?

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