Israel/Palestine,  Stateside

What happens in Vegas

My first impulse was to regard this video– which is getting a lot of attention on the Web and in the Israeli media— as too effing weird for comment. It depicts an Israeli– at a Las Vegas town hall meeting on health care sponsored by a local radio station– speaking in support of Israel’s national health care system, only to be interrupted with shouts of “Heil Hitler!” by a woman wearing an IDF t-shirt.

But on reflection, here are a couple of observations:

Is there really a huge mental leap from comparing President Obama’s health care logo to a Nazi swastika, or linking health care reform to Nazi eugenics, to shouting “Heil Hitler!” at an outspoken advocate of national health care– Jewish or Israeli or otherwise?

When the woman tells the Israeli, “You ought to be the most against President Obama,” she seems to be suggesting the following:

–Obama is anti-Israel;

–Obama advocates a form of national health care;

–Therefore, Israelis should oppose Obama’s plan for national health care.

Even if Obama was anti-Israel, it wouldn’t make any sense.

What a lot of Israel’s rightwing supporters (and leftwing opponents) have a hard time grasping is that Israel was founded on democratic socialist principles– including a universal right to health care. Although Israel isn’t as socialistic as it used to be, national health care is one thing on which even most Likudniks agree.

Finally, the Israeli makes a reasonable point when he compares the treatment of veterans in Israel and the United States. According to one estimate, there are 15,000 homeless vets in Los Angeles alone.

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