‘PEP’ (Progressive Except Palestine) makes the Washington Post

on 26 Comments

I first heard the phrase PC in ’87 from a savvy college crowd (it was said of David Barron, now of the Justice Department). And I heard PEP (Progressive Except on Palestine) about two years ago, and it’s now found its way into the Washington Post. Monday, in the Style section of course, not on the Op-Ed page:  

With her heavy Upper West Side accent and frequent references to Zabar’s, comedian Katie Halper often stuns the audience by giving voice to the Palestinian plight — as a Jewish liberal. 

“You’ve heard about the movie ‘Miral’ opening, right?” Halper asks the audience, referring to the recently released film about an orphaned Palestinian girl who finds herself drawn into the conflict.

“Like we really need yet another movie that looks at the conflict from a Palestinian perspective? Way to shatter the stereotype that Hollywood is run by Palestinians. And Palestinian women, specifically,” Halper exhales sarcastically. “Because there are so many Palestinians running Hollywood.”

Some in the audience laugh. But some clearly experience what Halper, a Laughing Liberally co-founder, calls the “PEP Phenomenon,” or Progressive Except on Palestine.

Says my tipster: It would be great, I think, if she and other comedians would come together do a PEP show, exposing the PEP phenomenon among liberals and progressives. There’s nothing like comedy to make a solid political point, as Jon Stewart and the Daily Show has proven.

26 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 27, 2011, 1:01 pm

    This is great. Whatdya think, 10 years for PEP to migrate to the editorial page?

  2. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Never forget, PEP pills are the gateway drug to a full-on Ziocaine addistion!

    • Frances
      April 27, 2011, 2:10 pm

      Final results of Ziocaine can also be approximated by standing outside an apartment block and having an Acme piano dropped on your head.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 7:19 pm

        My research indicates that Zioicaine addiction has about the same effects as chronic abuse of cocaine and alcohol.
        Usually it’s grandiosity, with a tendency towards violence, alternating with periods of whiny paranoia, followed by amnesia, which allows them to come back tomorrow and say all the same dumb things over again.
        Of course, individual response varies.

    • Lydda Four Eight
      April 27, 2011, 2:19 pm

      *snort* too funny.

    • Sumud
      April 27, 2011, 5:43 pm

      Never forget, PEP pills are the gateway drug …

      We shouldn’t understate how dangerous PEP pills themselves are though Mooser…

      Decades of popping them like candy has reduced one of our most voluminous zionist commentators to a blabbering automaton; unable to construct coherent sentences, unable to comprehend that liberals don’t advocate ethnic cleansing, and totally powerless to overcome an equally tragic secondary addiction to motherhood statements.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 7:23 pm

        Ach, a sad case, indeed! If only he could have been helped in the earlier stages. And when you consider that treatment in the early stages can be someimes be sucessfully administered with nothing more than a short length of 2×4, it’s really tragic.

      • Sumud
        April 28, 2011, 10:49 am

        Tragic indeed Dr. Mooser – and a very early diagnosis can be treated in a way even less likely to leave bruises. Heartbreaking to think of the young lives laid to waste – and for what? No good reason.

  3. Frances
    April 27, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Wha-? Jon Stewart doesn’t have a point, he’s a fluffy Democratic Party-apologist. He’s funny, but certainly no moral authority.

    Katie Halper sounds lovely. Must YouTube her and see if anything turns up.

    • Polly
      April 27, 2011, 2:25 pm

      “Wha-? Jon Stewart doesn’t have a point, he’s a fluffy Democratic Party-apologist. He’s funny, but certainly no moral authority”

      No I’d say he’s a presenter who is brilliant, funny, witty, and as well informed as anyone else on TV.
      But he is, like Maddow, Olbermann etc – P.E.P.

      • Chaos4700
        April 27, 2011, 2:59 pm

        I’m not sure Olbermann was P.E.P. During the raid on the flotilla, he interviewed one of the passengers — a former US ambassador (I’m blanking on his name). And during Operation Cast Lead he was critical of Israel, if only very briefly.

        I wish he’d spend more time on it, same as Harry Shearer, but the fact that they spend any time at all and the time spent is deliberately fair and undoctored by IDF propaganda means something, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

      • Polly
        April 27, 2011, 5:24 pm

        “the fact that they spend any time at all and the time spent is deliberately fair and undoctored by IDF propaganda means something, and shouldn’t be overlooked.”

        I’ll drink to that. It’s too easy to sling mud on this issue – anyone in the public eye who sticks their neck out on this issue – even if they do a backflip ten seconds later – is still doing more than me and is risking plenty.

      • Kathleen
        April 28, 2011, 9:13 am

        that was great when Olberman had Ambassador Peck on. Basically went further than anyone had. But still basically a PEP.

        After Israel’s executions on the Mavi Marmara. Chris Matthews showed the same Israeli released clip of the Israeli soldiers sliding down the rope 7 times in 9 minutes or 9 times in seven minutes forget those numbers now. But clearly was only willing to show Israels propaganda. Never went any further.

        All of those MSNBC folks clearly more concerned about their paychecks or they are truly anti Palestinian. They will spend endless hours covering the birther bullshit, what Sarah Palin says, the bloody wedding and barely whisper anything about the I/P issue.

        Can anyone tell me what the fuck is so royal about that family?

        First time I heard Pep was about 10 years ago at a Support for Palestnians rally in D.C. Most of our Dems are forced PEP’s if you are not you are out. Some are clearly rabid PEP’s like Weiner, Schumer, Boxer, Gillibrand

        Council for a National Interest is focused on
        Subject: Tell Congress: Vote “No” on HR 1501!

        Council for the National Interest Foundation
        Ever since the publication of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict detailing Israeli war crimes in its invasion of Gaza (“the Goldstone Report”), there have been efforts to reject and repudiate the report’s findings. The Obama Administration has questioned the conclusions, the media has largely ignored the crimes against civilians that it describes, and Congress has been working hard to put pressure on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone Report in its entirety.

        The objective of Israel’s friends is to protect its government and defense forces from any accountability for the deaths of 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians and many of whom were children.

        The strenuous efforts by the United States to shield Israel makes America complicit in a cover-up of war crimes—which is precisely how the rest of the world sees it.

        Senate Resolution 138, which passed on April 14th, called on the United Nations to annul the Goldstone Report, demanded that the UN Human Rights Council actually be restructured so that it will stop criticizing Israel, and called on the White House to take the lead to “limit the damage that this libelous report has caused to our close ally Israel…”

        The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives is currently considering a bill, House Resolution 1501, “To withhold United Nations contributions to the United Nations until the United Nations formally retracts” the Goldstone report. As the committee is headed by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a passionate supporter of Israel, it is certain that the bill will go to the House for approval.

        It’s time to push back against the Israel lobby and prove to Congress and the media that there is another side to the story. Your Council for the National Interest is leading the way in this battle.

        Background information on the issue can be found in the statement made by Goldstone’s co-authors and in an article by CNI executive director Phil Giraldi. Also, a fact sheet with additional information on the Gaza invasion can be downloaded or ordered in bulk at If Americans Knew.

        However one feels about the United Nations in general, it is difficult to understate the damage this bill will do to America’s standing vis-à-vis a number of international bodies. There is no possible explanation for this legislation but to protect Israel from any legitimate criticism. As is frequently the case, the United States and its citizens will pay the price in terms of America’s approval rating sinking even lower worldwide.

        HR 1501 is another opportunity for CNI to educate and motivate Americans on the power of the Israel lobby. And frankly, it’s another reason for you to show your support for our ongoing work—this current fight is only one we are fighting on many fronts. I hope you will be generous with a gift of $25, $50 or even $250.

        Contact your Representative now and state your view that this bill does not benefit the United States and will, in fact, do terrible damage to our country’s international standing. Sacrificing American interests for those of a foreign power—i.e., defending Israel from any disapproval—is not a principal enshrined in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights.


        Alison Weir, President
        Council for the National Interest

      • Theo
        April 28, 2011, 9:25 am

        This is our country, “the home of the free and the brave”!!

        If you are brave to voice your opinion on anything negative to zionism or Israel, you are free to take your hat and leave, as you will be fired sooner or later anyway.
        Does it remind us of the nazi and communist dictatorships in Europe, or the many present ones in many parts of this lovely globe, where you better zip up your mouth and sing praise through your nose to your oppressor.

        The zionists are ruining our country and we are allowed to sing hulleluja. I am so glad that we are the fullfilment of a fair and democratic system and continue to spread it all over the world, expecting others to copy us.

        There were times when people stood up and were ready to die for their beliefs and freedom, as arabs do today. In the USA we keep our mouth shut, because we may lose our jobs or the neighbors may look at us the wrong way. It is a pity that we do not have a freedom square.
        The writer of these lines was fighting soviet tanks at age 17. The revolt was betrayed by the west, instead of the promised help US intelligence, England, France and Israel attacked the Suez Canal, taking advantage of the soviet preoccupation and giving them ample opportunity to deal with us.
        The USA sure came a long way since 1776 when people still had the courage to stand up to George and risk their lives for freedom.
        Now they are afraid to lose their jobs, however we should not forget: they cannot fire everyone!

      • Kathleen
        April 28, 2011, 8:57 am

        He has been a solid PEP for over a decade. Things shifting a bit at that show. Hope he stops repeating Israel and Aipac’s unsubstantiated claims about Iran.

      • Kathleen
        April 28, 2011, 9:14 am

        Jon Stewart

    • patm
      April 27, 2011, 3:07 pm

      Iwonder if she is related to Jeff Halper? Perhaps that’s where she gets her PEP.

  4. annie
    April 27, 2011, 2:35 pm

    It would be great, I think, if she and other comedians would come together do a PEP show

    great idea

  5. Citizen
    April 27, 2011, 2:47 pm

    Ah, the PEPsi Generation is being called out. At last, said the healthy teeth to the equally rotten ones. Coke’s not to follow; it’s an evil addiction. See Dr Mooser.

  6. hophmi
    April 27, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Yeah. And if it’s like Katie Halper, it will be unfunny to everybody except her political fellow travelers.

    • Cliff
      April 27, 2011, 4:57 pm

      Translation according to the Zionist Guide to Incessant Whining on the Internet: Wahhhhhh Wahhhhhh

  7. MRW
    April 27, 2011, 4:24 pm

    And the PEPers are like a bottle of Dr. Pepper. Empty from the neck up and full from the neck down.

  8. Cliff
    April 27, 2011, 4:59 pm

    On a more serious note, I think it will get people thinking. It’s not like people are going to die of laughter, but it’s definitely a good joke PLUS it’s packs a wallop of truth.

    She’s using comedy to deal with a touchy issue. Nothing new.

  9. Richard Witty
    April 28, 2011, 12:35 pm

    The perspective that rejects Israel is not progressive.

    The Palestinian solidarity movement that seeks reconciliation as well as self-determination is progressive. The Palestinian solidarity movement that seeks self-determination instead of reconciliation is reactionary.

    • Chaos4700
      April 28, 2011, 1:29 pm

      You know seriously. Nobody really cares what you, hophmi or yonira are trying to do with slandering the definition of American Progressivism. You’re all just neocon hacks.

      I guess the vacation is over. Sigh. (Mine, not yours, incidentally.)

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