The Forward’s Eli Valley has penned a deliciously sly, knowing send-up of the hasbara bonanza that followed on Stephen Hawking’s cancellation of his talk at the Shimon Peres conference. Those of you who followed it could read any number of the hasbarafia who noted that Hawking’s speech processor contained an Intel chip developed in Israel. Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev even used the disgusting, condescending term “poster boy” to describe Hawking’s supposed relation to the BDS movement.
Valley titles his cartoon, The Hypocrisy of Stephen Hawking. But don’t be fooled because he’s speaking in the voice of the pro-Israel crowd who were in high dudgeon over the affair. He begins his list of Israel’s achievements with the Intel processor, but by the end he’s claiming Hawking’s teeth contain phosphorus:
Teeth: Teeth contain phosphorus. Israel is a global leader in white phosphorus technology.
By then, the joke’s on the hasbara crowd, who began thinking Valley would ratify their prejudices, and ended feeling confused and even betrayed. That’s the hidden power of the best satire. The target may read it believing it reinforces his worst prejudices. But by the end, he develops a sinking, queasy feeling in his stomach that something’s not quite right. As Dylan once sang:
Something’s happenin’ here but you don’t know what it is,
Do you, Mr. Jones?