Any newspaper articles about blogging naturally catch my eye. Al achat kama v’ kama (“even more so”) regarding Jewish blogging. So when I read that Israel would be hosting a conference for Jewish blogging my interest was piqued. But as soon as I began reading, my interest turned to horror (or something approximating it).
One of the most entertaining parts of writing this blog is bringing my readers unintentionally hilarious bits of Jewish or Israeli life, and this one will tickle your (ironic) funny bone. Before you begin, keep in mind that the conference sponsor, Nefesh B’Nefesh is the very-same American Jewish non-profit organization bringing new olim from America and other western countries and settling them, with the help of tax-deductible donations from American Jews, in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory. As the saying goes, your tax dollars hard at work. Here, by the way, is NBN’s little promo for living the phat life in Maaleh Adumim, one of the most contentious settlement projects dividing the U.S. and Israel in the debate over a freeze.
I’ve simply got to quote most of the article since it’s too delicious to pass up:
What do Humus101, The Big Felafel, and Mommy’s Going Meshugganah have in common? They’re all blogs which concern Jewish issues such as being a tourist in Israel and how to deal with a Jewish in-law.
Creators of these blogs will arrive in Israel next week for the Jewish Bloggers convention, to be held in Jerusalem.
“The blogosphere is currently undergoing an unprecedented boom in the Jewish world. It’s virtually a new Jewish language,” said Danny Oberman, Executive VP of Israel Operations in Nefesh B’Nefesh who organized the event. “New and original blogs on Jewish themes are popping up on the net daily. Each of those bears great influence on the current public discourse in the Jewish world.” Oberman said that many Jews across the world regard the blogs as a reliable and authentic source of information on various topics including immigration to Israel.
Indeed, many of the Jewish blogs engage in PR for Israel. Some, like the successful ‘What War Zone???’ use humor as a way to present Israel as a relaxing and hip place.
Other blogs also show funny sides of Israel and the Jewish world, such as ‘Humus101’, which contains Humus recipes from around the world, and a blog detailing locations of Kosher restaurants across the globe called ‘YEAH That’s Kosher’. Another example is ‘The Big Felafel’, a blog offering the Jewish tourist a survival guide for the Holy Land, whereas a different type of survival is detailed in ‘Mommy’s Going Meshugganah’, which deals with the Jewish mother dynamic. Raunchier blogs such as ‘Jewlicious’ and ‘Jewcy’ also attract many net surfers with posts titled “Kiss me, I’m religious” and reviews of plays such as “Sex and the Holy Land.”
The Nefesh B’Nefesh organization will hold the convention next Sunday, in which 300 top-bloggers from Israel and the Diaspora will participate. An additional 100 will be watching the live video broadcast online.
Members of Nefesh B’Nefesh explained that the conference’s aim is to “deepen collaboration and coordination between Jewish bloggers around the world in order to further join the interests of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
The conference will host officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Information who will attempt to recruit the bloggers for these goals.
Now here I was ready to reserve my airline ticket until I read that last line. Am I prepared to be recruited by the PM or PR or Mossad or whoever, to become a hasbarist on behalf of the State of Israel? No thank you. I’ll leave that task to David Abitbol, Aussie Dave and the humus eaters of Nefesh B’Nefesh. I’d prefer to be able to look myself in the mirror and say I’m still my own man, not bought and paid for, whether through mammon or ideology by anyone or anything, except The (Jewish) Good as defined by yours truly.
What strange irony that the ad accompanying this Ynetnews article promotes the most recent edition of Azure (“Ideas of the [Right-Wing] Jewish Nation”), the publication of the Likudist Shalem Center. Including this (see accompanying ad graphic) scintillating and deeply moral essay from the leading IDF ethical apologist defending the world’s most moral army from the charge that it committed war crimes in Gaza. There are other articles by Shmu Rosner (an aptly titled Blueprints for Empire Building) and James (‘Marty’s Mini-Me’) Kirchik. Ah wonders never cease! But that’s why we blog–so you can sit back and scratch your head in amazement at the sheer chutzpah of some of these moral charlatans.