Smoking Gun

By

Etgar Keret has a new short story at the New Yorker, and an interview with Deborah Treisman afterwards. When she asks him about the piece’s political connotations, he gifts her the courtesy of a joke:

There is an old Israeli joke about an Israeli-Palestinian who finishes his law studies and goes to ask for a job at a big Tel Aviv-based law firm. One of the senior partners takes him to a huge, beautiful office and tells him that it’s his new office, then hands him the keys to a Porsche and tells him that it’s his new car. “You’re kidding!” the Israeli-Palestinian says, surprised. “I am,” the senior partner says. “But you started it.”

In a better world, this joke wouldn’t be funny. But, in a country full of so much suspicion, which quickly translates into racial tension and violence, it is, if in a very bitter way. The same goes for Avri’s argument: in a reality that is less xenophobic and tense than the one we have in Israel, his claim would be completely defensible. But in the Israel we live in today it is nothing short of ridiculous.


Bryan Washington has written for Puerto Del Sol, Ninth Letter, and Midnight Breakfast, among others; he's also the recipient of a Houstonia Fellowship. He lives around New Orleans. More from this author →