Curb your racism

on 221 Comments


I’ve watched every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm I could get hold of, and the clip from this Season 8 episode has left me grim-faced and angry. Larry David and Jeff enthusiastically check-out a (fictional) L.A. Palestinian restaurant, ‘Al-Abbas’, famed for its chicken, and whilst praising the cuisine they set about insulting the people. Scanning a poster with the words, Freedom for Palestine,  Jeff concludes “yeah, they do not like the Jews”, and as the men perv over a glamorous woman assumed to be Palestinian, Jeff remarks that “if by some chance she’s going to get over her anti-Semitism” she won’t sleep with Larry anyway. Larry’s retort is that desiring someone “who doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, wants your destruction” is a turn-on.

Hilarious. Offensive. Laughable.

Larry David’s right to exist in his homeland, America, seems ‘pretty, pretty’ secure. Slandering all Palestinians as anti-Semitic on an irreverent and popular TV show like this is a new low, and is an example of cultural and ethnic arrogance; it is no joke to imply that the Palestinian people’s ongoing struggle for justice poses an existential threat to privileged, Jewish men. Antony Loewenstein’s comment on the clip: “Is it possible for even liberal Jews on mainstream American TV to not frame Arabs and Palestinians as all anti-Semites? Apparently not”. Meanwhile, Haaretz is grinning like a fool at Larry’s joke that this is best place for Jews to cheat on their wives – since they would never be seen. If you side with the oppressor, you won’t be seen dead in the company of the oppressed. 

221 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    July 29, 2011, 8:21 am

    Beverly Hills Billionaires worried about their “right to exist” – haha. Oh, man….
    It’s kind of funny that this is found to be so objectionable, this guys shows have cast pretty much all ethnic and racial groups “stereotypically” – from all the other Jewish charecters in his shows, to the black family he had move into his house a season or two ago…….

    • Ofer Neiman
      July 29, 2011, 9:26 am

      Larry David is extremely privileged. I am not sure that this type of commentary, ironic or not, is the way to handle Israeli apartheid, if he really sees its brutality (and I’m not sure he does).

      • Arnon Shwantzinger Too
        July 29, 2011, 11:53 am

        “…if he really sees its brutality (and I’m not sure he does).”
        You’re missing the point – he SHOWED the brutality:
        FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE – on the backdrop of men climbing a barbed-wired concrete ghetto wall.
        RIGHT VS. MIGHT – showing men with rocks opposing a tank. David vs. Goliath style.
        And a colorful VISIT PALESTINE poster.

      • Dan Crowther
        July 29, 2011, 12:13 pm

        huh – no sht. fckin larry david is a clever dude….thanks arnon.

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 9:00 pm

        Okay and then they actively MOCKED and SCORNED the poster and equated Palestinian freedom with anti-Semitism!

        If you think most of the Jewish audience were smiling uncomfortably rather than laughing and pointing, I think you’re deluding yourself about the nature of Israel’s fixture in American Jewish culture.

    • Dan Crowther
      July 29, 2011, 12:17 pm

      I watched it again…..hes definitely making fun of his people. The last shot of the two of them sitting there eating chicken talking about “their destruction” while everyone else is casually sitting there was definitely meant as a joke.. he’s poking fun for sure……

      • mmm245
        July 30, 2011, 12:23 am

        yea maybe, especially since he says no jew would ever be found in such a restaurant. Maybe poking at the fact that Jews/Israelis don’t venture into Arab places and avoid interaction with Arabs out of fear and misinformation?

      • Dan Crowther
        July 30, 2011, 3:24 pm

        Even the Rabbi (gotta watch the whole episode) wants the chicken!!!

    • VR
      July 30, 2011, 5:08 pm

      “Is it possible for even liberal Jews on mainstream American TV to not frame Arabs and Palestinians as all anti-Semites?”

      Or, as all terrorists and so on?

      link to

  2. EmmaZunz
    July 29, 2011, 8:44 am

    And they say Americans don’t get irony?

    • Haytham
      July 29, 2011, 3:33 pm

      I think it’s ironic that you’re talking about “getting” irony.

      I looked at your previous letters and I found this gem about all the “different kinds of Zionists”:

      Exclusive-Absolute = Netanyahu;
      Exclusive-Pragmatic = later Sharon, Olmert;
      Inclusive-Two-State = J-Street? Uri Avnery?
      Inclusive-Post-Zionist (Bi-National) = no mainstream Zionist politician?
      Non-Zionist = most Palestinians.

      Wow. You have come up with a whole new subject in Political Science or Nationalism 101. Maybe you should write an article for Foreign Policy? Or did you get this from somewhere and not cite it?

      Either way, you should know, it’s garbage. [Kind of like your posts from today. At least you’re consistent!]

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 4:37 pm

        @ Haytham

        Wow. In one comment you have:

        – brought up an irrelevant comment I made
        – dissed me
        – implied that I have plagiarised.

        I’m sure you’re a lovely polite guy in person though.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 5:57 pm

        Well, in one day I’ve decided I don’t like you. If you care to know why–which I’m sure you don’t–you can read Taxi’s two responses to you on this thread. He expressed it better than me.

        Here’s a tip. If you don’t want “a lovely polite guy” like me to annoy you, don’t post stupid shit about something you’ve never seen and then not only double down on it several times but also tell others they are wrong. I may be rude but you’re not being intellectually honest.

        And no, you’re right. I’m not a lovely polite guy in real life. I’m may be a blunt asshole but at least I play by the rules. I don’t make shit up, I argue in good faith, and I admit when I’m wrong.

  3. EmmaZunz
    July 29, 2011, 8:55 am

    You guys are misinterpreting this completely. It’s ironically pointing out how absurd those fears are in the context of Larry’s life.

    When the guy looks at the posters and says they’re anti-semitic, that’s clearly the writers saying that claim is overblown. When Larry worries about women not recognising his right to exist, that’s clearly Larry getting over-wrought within a Jewish victim-complex.

    It’s actually a smart comment on the Jewish mentality. Irony, people!

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 9:00 am

      Yeah, would you like to guess how many people take it literally, and think the irony is the existence of a Palestinian restaurant? I think you give the writers way too much credit.

    • Eleanor Kilroy
      July 29, 2011, 9:04 am

      Irony always appreciated, but in this context it really doesn’t come across for me, sorry. Something about the air of privilege sticks in my throat…

    • Dan Crowther
      July 29, 2011, 9:46 am

      Yea, I dont think so Emma. This is a Larry David shout-out to his people…..

    • Sin Nombre
      July 29, 2011, 10:17 am

      EmmaZunz wrote:

      “It’s actually a smart comment on the Jewish mentality.”

      Let’s assume you’re right, Emma. I know in a couple of Woody Allen movies he was doing what you’re saying, although it was much broader then in its obvious irony. Assuming your right however makes it even worse in a way, doesn’t it?

      I mean … in the first place one still can’t imagine something making it onto the air with a couple of gentiles sitting in a jewish deli commenting that all jews are just out to suck their money from them, or destroy their culture or etc., right? Inconceivable. (Esp. and even, say, having any Palestinians sitting in that deli saying how jews don’t even recognize their right to exist, which is closer to the mark than David’s comment.)

      But then in the second place … okay, so Larry David and Woody Allen are making inside jokes to fellow jews about how paranoid jews are, confident that the vast majority will get the joke. Well then, where is Larry David and Woody Allen and all these other “inside” jews who get the truth of the joke when it comes to defending people—like, say, Phil Weiss with this DailyKoss business—against these ridiculous charges of anti-semitism that are slung about so freely these days?

      Or springing to the defense of Walt or Mearsheimer?

      After all, if as you say it’s just common inside knowledge that there’s a ridiculous hyper-sensitivity among some jews (like the characters Woody and Larry are playing), all they do is sit back and let people get horribly smeared wrongly by such characters?

      I guess *that* must be part of the inside joke too, huh? No matter how clearly untrue, unjust or disgusting, never side with anyone called an anti-semite.

      Ha ha ha. What a belly-slapper…

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 10:25 am

        Let’s not over-egg the pudding. There’s no suggestion here that Larry and the writers have a Mondoweiss view of things. They’re simply getting some light relief out of the characters taking these things too much to heart. It’s making a comment that the hasbara view exaggerates and emotionalises things, rather than a critique of its assumptions.

      • American
        July 29, 2011, 12:00 pm

        If it was irony that was intended, it’s the kind of irony that would fly right over some viewer’s heads.

        I dont’ watch a lot of TV but even I have seen many examples of this kind of thing inserted into TV programs. It’s like a drip,drip, drip of references to Arabs hating/trying to kill Jews and other references to scary Muslims.
        I don’t think that’s self deprecating Jewish humor.
        It’s more like the dropping of little turds here and there on Arabs….and the public’s mind.

        Let’s try it this way…

        “yeah, they do not like the ‘Arabs, and as the men perv over a glamorous woman assumed to be Jewish Israeli’ , Jeff remarks that “if by some chance she’s going to get over her Arab hate’ she won’t sleep with Larry anyway. Larry’s retort is that desiring someone “who doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, wants your destruction” is a turn-on.’

      • kalithea
        July 29, 2011, 11:23 am

        “Well then, where is Larry David and Woody Allen and all these other “inside” jews who get the truth of the joke when it comes to defending people—like, say, Phil Weiss with this DailyKoss business—against these ridiculous charges of anti-semitism that are slung about so freely these days?”

        Yes, this is the truth of the matter; the fact that they wouldn’t stick their neck out to defend Palestinians or condemn what’s happening in Israel in serious venues.

        If in fact he’s making fun of Jewish “over-sensitivity”; the Palestinians are once again on the losing end, because, many Jews will see only what they want to see in this skit–especially a reaffirmation of their own victimhood.

        The whole context: Hollywood vis à vis the harrowing present-day suffering under Israeli occupation is just perverse in my opinion.

      • Dan Crowther
        July 29, 2011, 12:04 pm

        Wait, Woody Allen is Jewish? Holy sht……….:)

    • annie
      July 29, 2011, 10:41 am

      that’s the way i read it. i thought larry was mocking himself and the unsubstantiated unwarranted prejudice of people like him.

      sorry eleanor, larry’s humor often leaves me very uncomfortable and squirmy as good humor often does and is supposed to do. i especially didn’t see him insulting the beautiful woman, clearly he was mocking himself and his kind.

      • Eleanor Kilroy
        July 29, 2011, 10:48 am

        In general, me too annie – I’m a big fan, but this was just off for me – maybe this joke is too American/foreign for me…

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 6:39 pm

        You’re not wrong Eleanor. You’re completely right. This expresses it perfectly:

        Hilarious. Offensive. Laughable.

        I’m a huge fan also, which makes it worse for me. When I saw the promo for a Curb Your Enthusiasm “Palestinian Chicken” episode a couple of weeks ago I wanted very much for it to be a smart political commentary (on Park51 or Israel/Palestine) or just a silly show focusing on racism (like Larry did with the dog that he thought was biting African-Americans but was actually biting gay people). I very much wanted it not to be exactly what it turned out to be.

        I think some here are projecting their favorable feelings toward Larry David onto this horrible episode and looking at it through “rose-colored glasses.”

      • Taxi
        July 29, 2011, 8:13 pm


        You couldn’t even pay me to watch that loathsome little zionist man called Larry David. I have for a long time boycotted zionist entertainers due to their overt and covert Arabaphobia and islamaphobia.

        I am totally against the current culture of ‘hip-humiliation’ of the ‘other’.

    • kalithea
      July 29, 2011, 10:53 am

      Even if that’s the case; it’s in very poor taste. Consider that Palestinians are suffering an abuse of their rights, that they’re being dispossessed of their land, thrown out on the street while settlers move into their homes, being tear-gassed, shot at and imprisoned for non-violent resistance. Consider that just a day ago a Palestinian child was kidnapped and beaten and forced to confess to something he didn’t do and children are kidnapped and thrown in prison all the time. Consider that the daily Palestinian routine is waiting for hours at checkpoints and the humiliation of being treated like this in your own country on your own land. This is not a joking matter! Would he make fun of the people of Darfur? Honestly, this is SICK HUMOR, immature and insensitive at best. He has a plethora of subject matter to choose from without picking on people who are suffering IN THE PRESENT TENSE.

      I’m not impressed with David’s intelligence at all. This shows zero class.

    • Haytham
      July 29, 2011, 1:51 pm

      You guys are way off. If you want to interpret what Larry and Jeff are saying as ironic or whatever fine (I don’t agree) but what about the Palestinians? No way in hell is it irony.

      Larry has them cheering when he rips off the guys’ kippa. Not some of the “Arabs”. The entire restaurant. 20 people, some of them wearing kiffiyas around their necks. Come the fuck on. That is not irony.

      What about the love scene? The Palestinian woman is saying vile and anti-Semitic things. This is not ironic. He is plainly saying Palestinians hate Jews, in real life. Period. And by the way, this is the same female actor L.D. brings in when he wants someone to play an ignorant or oppressed Muslim woman. He has also used her as a Hasidic Jew.

      Watch it again. I am shocked that you all were only paying attention to what the JEWISH CHARACTERS SAID. The lines of the “Arab” characters were written by Larry David and his writers also.

      Pay attention.

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 7:14 pm


        When was the last time a Palestinian was shown on US media anywhere as anything other than a Jew-hating terrorist sympathizer (if not a terrorist him/herself).

        The intended audience of the show weren’t sitting there saying, “God, seriously! I can’t believe how bigoted and distant elitist white Jewish Americans are!” They were sitting there and laughing, saying, “Ha HA! Look at him sitting in that restaurant surrounded by would-be terrorists and they can’t do a THING to him, even though they all universally hate Jews! Only in America, right?”

        The intended audience of this show are bigoted and distant elitist white Jews. And people who wish they were that.

      • Cliff
        July 30, 2011, 7:42 am

        link to

        Read the comments.

        Why is it that if as Palestinian poster reads, “Freedom for Palestine” or “Visit Palestine” – it’s anti-Israel?

        This narrative and standard is where whatever ‘criticisms’ take place. So the few criticisms that were written, one by the Jewish Journal, were more about how it would offend Zionists.

        More narcissism. World revolving around Jewish naval contemplation. Etc.

      • Shmuel
        July 30, 2011, 8:00 am

        Why is it that if as Palestinian poster reads, “Freedom for Palestine” or “Visit Palestine” – it’s anti-Israel?

        Ironically, the “Visit Palestine” poster in question was a originally a Zionist poster from the 1930s, by Austrian-born Jewish artist Franz Kraus.

        link to

  4. Eva Smagacz
    July 29, 2011, 9:02 am

    Before the war, is was said by some that Jewish writers and performers cornered the market in jokes in Poland. I can see why.

  5. muzz al atesta
    July 29, 2011, 9:14 am

    sorry, but to me this comes across as liberal yanks PC prudish lack of humour.

    hey, the palestinian struggle for freedom is a theme on a very popular american tv comedy show. great!

    has that ever happened before?

    i think they did a good job of exposing and mocking the casual racism that is so common among american zionist gentiles & jews.

    “how in the world can they dare open up a palestinian chicken restaurant next to the sacred land of that deli !?!”

    “hey this is america! they can do whatever they want, what do you mean?”

    i can understand if others see this differently, just my 2 cents.

    • Eleanor Kilroy
      July 29, 2011, 9:52 am

      I hope you’re right, and by the way, I’m a liberal Brit prude ;)

      • muzz al atesta
        July 29, 2011, 10:15 am

        yeah, that part was a bit lame of me, my apologies :)

    • annie
      July 29, 2011, 10:45 am

      thanks muzz, i’m not alone.

      eleanor, watch it again. had there been anything derogatory built into the setting or characters (unswarthy dirty or unattractive people/bad food) it would be different. but clearly he’s mocking himself on msm, this is groundbreaking. kudos to larry david.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Kudos to L.D.?

        He’s up there with Jerry Seinfeld at fundraisers for the Israeli military and other similar events.

        Have you searched for Larry David, Israel fundraisers on Google?

        I think you would find that you are completely wrong.

      • annie
        July 29, 2011, 2:27 pm

        i’ve revised my opinion re the bedroom scene linked downthread.

        and i don’t consider myself a prude. i found it degrading. as i said earlier had there been anything derogatory built into the setting or characters..well, there definitely is.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 6:00 pm


        Can you clarify? Did you modify your position on the “love scene” or the whole episode?

        You probably should know by now that I have the utmost respect for your opinion. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t care.

        This episode really pissed me off. Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm are two of my favorite sitcoms (if you can call them that) ever, so it’s particularly irritating.

      • annie
        July 29, 2011, 10:26 pm

        i didn’t watch the whole episode haytham.i couldn’t even stomach watching the whole bedroom scene. i read tha haaretz article i blockquoted and it sounded very degrading to me to write a character like this because the little glimpse you saw of her in the 3 minute episode just showed an attractive woman and the people surrounding her just looked like any normal people would sit around a table, therefore all of his meanderings were all in his own mind, hence, he was mocking himself and all his own perverse imaginings,i thought that was funny.

        then when i read “David ends up falling into bed with Shara,….. the inter-ethnic love comes at an anti-Semitic price, with Shara screaming “Zionist pig!” and “Show me the Promised Land!” in the throws of passion.” i was grossed out. that is why i wondered , as i mentioned earlier, was this his imagination, a fantasy he was having? so i started watching it and did not get very far. i’m too embarrassed to talk further about my reaction to it because , he turned her into a racist slut in the script. that’s all i can say. gross. i wouldn’t watch the whole episode, too uncomfortable. too degrading .

    • Donald
      July 29, 2011, 11:02 am

      I haven’t seen the episode, but I watched the clip and have seen commentary on it in the press someplace (don’t remember where) and it was meant satirically. Or at least to some extent. It’s offensive from start to finish, but it was meant as a satire of American Jewish attitudes towards Palestinians.

      My problem is that it’s hard to tell where the satire is aimed–the constant subtext that Palestinians are anti-semitic, for instance. I suspect the average American viewer is going to nod and think that there is some truth to the idea that being pro-Palestinian is anti-semitic, while laughing at Larry and his pal for taking it to ridiculous extremes.

      That’s the problem with satire in general–when it is done in a subtle brilliant way it’s also very easy to misinterpret. It’d be better as Sin Nombre or someone above said, if there was just some straightforward conversation about anti-Palestinian bigotry in the American Jewish community. Then the satire could drive the point home.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 12:40 pm

        Good point, Donald. Larry David capitalizes on the fact that Americans are not well informed about the I-P conflict; he knows full well the information they have is heavily pro-Israel. He capitalizes on this awareness of American ignorance in this area. That’s how he gets to have his cake and eat it too. He deals in edgy material the way he does because he’s not worried the goys will take him seriously. His joke is on the Jewish Americans who think they might. Yes or no?

      • Donald
        July 29, 2011, 1:25 pm

        ” That’s how he gets to have his cake and eat it too. ”

        That’s a good way to put it. I honestly can’t tell what Larry’s intentions are based on the clip.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 4:06 pm

        Here’s more evidences Larry David knows just how ignorant his gentile audience is:

        December 24, 2007, 7:35pm
        Cheryl Hines Is a ‘Nation’
        By Daniel Treiman

        Heeb magazine “Goy Issue” cover-girl Cheryl Hines — who has been consistently brilliant playing Larry David’s non-Jewish wife on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — confesses: “I’m still not even sure what [goy] means. But I’ve been called that for a while, since I started Curb. Honestly, I couldn’t give you a definition.”
        Among the other revelations in Heeb’s profile of Hines: Her character on “Curb” was originally supposed to be Jewish, in real life Larry apparently doesn’t dig pig, Hines learned about Passover from coloring books she bought for Rob Reiner’s kids, and some folks in the actress’s hometown of Tallahassee apparently thought she was David’s wife in real life.

        Read more: link to

        And he surely also must snicker inside at much of his Jewish audience, for example the Jewish woman who plays his fat buddy’s wife; her character is the epitome of a nasty, opinionated Jewish mom; she’s on pubic record as saying she loves to act in the show because she doesn’t even have to think about her part–she just does it, relying on Larry to direct and edit her because he’s such a genius.

  6. Oscar
    July 29, 2011, 10:01 am

    Oh, Eleanor, you completely missed the joke. I agree with Ali Abunimah, this was a complete mock of Jewish hasbara. Hilarious in its absurdity, and a brilliant commentary on the situation.

    Perhaps the real-life situation is so raw that to some, Larry David’s satire seems petty. I disagree. I think it’s groundbreaking in mocking the absurdity of the torrent of hasbara we endure everyday.

    UPDATE: I watched it again to be sure. It’s even funnier upon second viewing, if you open up your mind and listen to them spout the mindless catchphrases such as “right to exist” and “that table is planning an intifada.”. Great stuff.

    • Eleanor Kilroy
      July 29, 2011, 10:12 am

      I found it distasteful, and perhaps my sense of humour failed me, but I really find something about Larry’s taking this subject on (and parodying – if he is – American Jewish paranoia) in the privileged LA setting rather grotesque. But look, if most viewers see it as him exposing hasbara, great, fine!

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 11:00 am

        Atzmon thinks the show series as a whole is a smart critique of being Jewish, similar to A Serious Man, if memory serves.

        One of my questions is, what if the show had been put on by Mel Gibson?

        And, how about Sin Nombre’s take on it?

        Another consideration is Larry David constantly plays the role of the
        insensitive Jew regarding his character’s spontaneous actions and words. One recent rerun episode on network TV had him notice his black neighbor woman jogging by while he was driving; he yells out the window, “Hey! I’d recognize that tukas anywhere!” She gets deeply offended both as woman, and as a black woman, he thinks he was just being familiar in a neighborly way. In another, he whistles A Wagnerian tune and is overheard by an offensive little man who immediately yells at him, “Hey! Are you a Jew? You should be ashamed of yourself!” Larry’s character looks astounded, perplexed; he gets hot under the collar too. A feisty verbal ensues; the guy says Larry’s a self-hating Jew, etc! A small prelude before the incident has Larry telling wifey about how he loves the Wagner tune & he shows he knows something about Cosima Wagner, more or less, what a bright loving couple they were–he seems to be totally unaware historically Cosima was a rabid anti-semite, same as Wagner himself, etc. His wife of course is ignorant and sentimental, and “nice,” as she always is in the show–a typical shiksa. Just as his fat friend’s wife plays the Jewish shrew.

        My only criticism of the show is that sometimes I’d wish he’d take the issues presented even farther.

        I read an interview of Larry David where he says when he comes up with the idea for an episode he doesn’t think about the “plot itself” at all, or why he liked the notion or scenario in the first place, but he’s really in his talented element when he directs, edits, coaches the players (including himself) to get the effect he wants. They just follow his directions.

        In some ways the show works like the satirical cartoon series Family Guy, especially its main male character, Peter. That’s another show where I’d like to see some situations taken farther.

        Will be interesting to see where David takes his character now that he is divorcing both in real life and on his show. If memory serves he said
        he didn’t want a show he starred in that didn’t reflect his own situation.

        Finally, just as he plays the part of the insensitive Jew, he also plays the part of the acutely sensitive Jew. He certainly sees the humor in this internal conflict. He plays the part of the sap simultaneously as he plays the part of the guy with the sap.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 3:36 pm

        Here’s a good argument, and I’ve seen most of his episodes, that Larry David is not neurotic at all; rather he is not conflicted at all, which fits right in with some of my observations next above: link to

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 3:49 pm

        He sure does not seem conflicted about pissing on Jesus: link to

    • Haytham
      July 29, 2011, 2:07 pm

      YOU found it funny because YOU know the history.

      Larry David did not write this for YOU.

      He wrote it for an American audience. An American audience would find it hilarious that Larry David has the balls to call out those dirty Arabs on their anti-Semitism.

      Sure he made fun of the Park51 issue but he was making fun of BOTH SIDES and it was only a small part of the show. The larger part of the show was that Arabs are anti-Semites. Sure, oppressed, maybe mistreated, but they’re anti-Semites and it’s ok to treat all of them that way.

      And if you’re a Jew, they only fuck you while yelling that you’re a Zionist pig. By the way, did you forget that the reason the Palestinian woman became interested in him in the first place is because he ripped off his friend’s kippa? She was sexually attracted to his show of force against another Jew, and she actually said that in the show. It wasn’t implied–she said it. You guys need to consider opening your eyes and watching it again.

      I get it, you love Larry David, but pretending he is not a super-Zionist is just self-delusion.

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 2:31 pm

        It’s humorously stereotyping both Jews and Arabs. Stereotyping is a stock in trade of comedy – Jew, Pole, Irishman, whatever. From the scenes I’ve watched (first time in the restaurant and sex-scene), both anti-Arabism and anti-Jewishism are sent up.

        You think the sex scene is supposed to be realistic of what goes on in Palestinian-American women’s minds? It’s sending up the mentality of Americans on both side of the conflict, Jewish and Palestinian.

        Let’s not get so indignant that we can’t laugh at a funny send-up of people’s attitudes. Yes, the conflict and the suffering are serious; but this is a funny send-up of the ways people respond to it.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 2:55 pm

        You continue to be wrong. She said vile things. He said none. He took the things she said and joked around about them, indicating that although the Palestinians are extremists, the Jews remain moderate in the face of the crazy Arabs.

        There was no effective “sending up” of Jewish mentality. It was mocking the Palestinian/Arab mentality while the Jews simply reacted to that. And the part about the Jews getting angry and going crazy and over-reacting about the new restaurant location, that was a “send-up” of the Park51 situation, not the Israel/Palestine conflict. The difference, if you weren’t paying attention, is David is saying one the one hand, this is America, so of course the Palestinians can open a restaurant; on the other hand, that is Israel, so of course Jews have a right to, well, fill in the blank (exist, not be killed by “those” anti-Semites, etc.).

        The notion that just because he showed a “Visit Palestine” poster as he said that it was a turn on to be with a Palestinian woman (who is an anti-Semite and wants you dead), that, oh, that’s comedy gold, is ludicrous.

        Please, continue with your self-delusion, if you wish. I’m sure at some point L.D. will sit down and discuss the episode and you will see how very wrong you are.

        Or you can go to google and look at the types of pro-Israel events that he headlines.

        Up to you.

        And by the way, you asked about the “realism” of what Palestinian-American women think? How many Palestinian-American women do you think that the average American has met (knowingly)? They haven’t. They are likely to believe the message in the show. And if she is “Palestinian-American,” why did she have that thick (Persian-sounding) accent? That actress has no accent so that was deliberate. Why didn’t the Jewish-Americans in the show speak with an accent? Can you not tell the difference? Are you not capable of noticing the difference in the treatment of Jews and “Arabs” in the show? I am literally disgusted by your lack of insight.

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 3:00 pm

        As I say, I’ve only seen the two scenes. Will have to watch whole thing somewhere to judge of the whole.

        The scene embedded at the top of this page clearly mocks American-Jewish over-sensitivity.

      • Taxi
        July 29, 2011, 3:06 pm


        Which part of ‘follow the money and it will lead you to truth and motive’ do you not get? Larry David’s money leads directly to the idf – that you should think him an apolitical ‘purist’ comedian is baffling after this revelation. You don’t think ANY humor regarding Palestinians/Arabs is gonna be 100% tainted by his clear and disgusting support of zionist racism and prejudice?

        But I guess it’s hard for your pride to say: ‘upon review, I’m mistaken’, like our sweet and honorable annie just did.

        The problem with Larry David and many other zionist ‘performers’ is that they think they are SMARTER than the rest of us and can SMARTLY hide their rotten racism behind the veneer of comedy, drama, so-called liberalism, etc.

        So like miss Emma, you telling us that Larry David is smarter than you? Cuz it sure looks like he’s got ya right where he wants ya – in the slowly boiling pot of water full of other little dim-witted frogs.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 3:07 pm

        Let’s not get so indignant that we can’t laugh at a funny send-up of people’s attitudes. Yes, the conflict and the suffering are serious; but this is a funny send-up of the ways people respond to it.

        What does that even mean? Is that some “fancy” way to say, lighten up, everything in life is fair game for comedy? Well, if so, that’s a matter of opinion, and in case you haven’t noticed opinions can differ wildly.

        Let’s make fun of how people think about Darfur, apartheid in S. Africa, The Holocaust, slavery. It’ll be hilarious!

        I know, it’ll be especially fun to produce comedy about situations that are still ongoing, you know, so that the people that are actually suffering in them can laugh too! That way they know that we know what they’re going through and we care enough to laugh at (I mean about) them!

        How fun!

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 3:12 pm


        Thank you. I was starting to think maybe I was losing my mind a little.

        I don’t understand why Larry David is a “blank slate,” as if his “real life” contributions to (Israeli) society don’t matter to his comedy.

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 3:19 pm

        @ Taxi @ Haytham

        It’s not like the scene is of some kid being shot in the head while Larry David stands behind the soldier laughing. He is looking at how Americans of the Jewish or Pal persuasion relate to I/P and showing you the emotional excesses. That is legitimate and it is funny.

        Please don’t get so caught up in indignation that you can’t laugh.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Please don’t get so caught up in indignation that you can’t laugh.

        Yeah, you said that twice before. We get it. Our indignation is preventing us from laughing.

        And it is very, very fair and high minded of you, after viewing literally 3 minutes out of the 30 minute show, to lecture those of us who have seen it at least once all the way. through. I posted on MW about this show last week, before it aired. I have seen it more than once.

        You literally have no clue what you’re talking about. If you think it is legitimate to guess what 27 minutes of a show are about after watching only 3, and not only that, but are prepared to argue with people who have seen it, then I don’t know what else to say to you.

        I know, I know, I shouldn’t let my indignation get in the way of my laughter. Right.

      • Taxi
        July 29, 2011, 3:29 pm

        “Please don’t get so caught up in indignation that you can’t laugh.”

        So like you STILL find it amusing that racists make fun of their victims?

        You really do have inflated and disgusting pride, Emma. And NO you ain’t having the last word on this matter neither!

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 4:38 pm

        As I’ve said, I’m only commenting on what I’ve seen.

        In those famous words: “Calm down, dear.”

      • tree
        July 29, 2011, 6:52 pm

        In those famous words: “Calm down, dear.”

        How cheerfully condescending you are, Emma. And by the way, you aren’t just commenting on what you’ve seen. Your telling other people that they are wrong to view it otherwise. How wonderfully stereotypical of you! I’m sure we can all just share a hearty laugh at your expense.

      • Taxi
        July 29, 2011, 7:02 pm

        Aren’t you embarrassed Emma? Haytham just told you he watched THE WHOLE THING TWICE and you only watched 3 minutes and you STILL reckon you know better and you tell him to “calm down, dear”. How passive-aggressive of you, not to mention condescending and covertly racist. I mean HAYTHAM is obviously Arab and he’s telling us he finds it offensive and you just lightly dismiss his legitimate grievance. Why do you keep doing this? Would you do this to a jewish person who found jokes about the holocaust offensive? Would you obnoxiously tell them: “calm down, dear”? I DON’T THINK SO!

        One day you’ll understand that racism is the fundamental scourge of the world and all decent people interested in a peaceful future for their grandchildren have a duty to show ZERO TOLERANCE to it in politics, in entertainment, around the water-cooler, in universities etc. EVERYWHERE! Zero tolerance, emma, ZERO TOLERANCE!

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 7:16 pm

        Emma, you have to understand: These joke has a MASSIVELY different context if you’re not white.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 9:24 pm

        I just think maybe I’ve blown the whole thing out of proportion. I didn’t intend to insult people here personally out of anger at a stupid tv show.

        I’m sorry for my crude and inconsiderate language.

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 9:36 pm

        Well, you had every right to be offended, considering how trashy this program’s portrayal of Palestinians is. To be honest, I think you were entirely justified to be enraged, if that’s any consolation.

      • Taxi
        July 29, 2011, 9:48 pm

        Good grief Haytham, what the heck you apologizing for? You sure didn’t do nothing except enlighten us further with your posts.

        Don’t get me wrong I’m all for apologizing if it is warranted but you really didn’t do or say anything hostile or offensive.

        What’s offensive is the shameful insidiousness of acceptable racism in our entertainment industry.

      • Cliff
        July 30, 2011, 7:45 am

        Emma, your point is that it’s taking a shot at everyone. There is some context you seem to be missing. Watch the whole thing.

      • thetumta
        July 30, 2011, 10:49 am

        I’ve only seen what been presented here as well. You have seen the entire episode. Where can Emma and I see what you have seen? The entire episode. Link please.

      • EmmaZunz
        August 1, 2011, 6:54 am

        I hope you guys never watch Family Guy – your heads might explode!

      • Citizen
        August 1, 2011, 7:32 am

        Hey, EmmaZunz, I watch Family Guy all the time, and so does my brother. King of the Hill is good too. Remember Beavis & Butthead?
        FG exhibits less sacred cultural cows than any other TV shows although it still does have quite a few.

  7. DC Red
    July 29, 2011, 10:27 am

    Is anybody else reminded of the scene in Annie Hall:

    ‘Jew eat yet?”

  8. Woody Tanaka
    July 29, 2011, 10:54 am

    Well, I guess we could simply apply a Kirk Douglas-style rule here and
    ‘always assume that every Jew we meet is racist against non-Jews unless he could prove otherwise’…

    I’m not living my life that way, but apparently ol’ Kirk found it to be do-able.

    See, link to

    • Citizen
      July 29, 2011, 12:43 pm

      Interesting that Kirk Douglas prides himself on his deep-seated anti-goyism when he has lived his whole very comfy life fully protected in that hotbed of anti-semitism, the 98% goy USA.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 29, 2011, 1:09 pm

        And given the incredible success he’s been given by the USA, if he could harbor this vile bigotry, I wonder how common this bigotry is among American Jews. I have always believed that American Jews were overwhelmingly liberal, but, in light of this statement by Douglas, maybe not.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 3:27 pm

        Woody, there’s a name for it: PEP. Liberal prescribed in the diaspora, bigoted prescribed in Israel. Just another way of having your cake and eating it too. It’s always best to be liberal when you are in the minority, and to be free to self-govern when you are the majority.

  9. MHughes976
    July 29, 2011, 11:07 am

    I didn’t see the episode but I’d have thought that the allegory of Jewish people as welcome customers in a Palestinian restaurant, where they enjoy the food but casually abuse the people of the place, who for their part do nothing wrong or repulsive, is irony in quite bitter form and not by any means at the expense of the Palestinians. The sequence whereby the Palestinians are feminised, demonised and then desired adds some Freudian depth.

  10. annie
    July 29, 2011, 11:08 am

    argh. ok, i found this review @ haaretz.

    The fictional and mouthwatering Al-Abbas, is, according to David, the best place for Jews to cheat on their wives – since they would never be seen.

    Apparently some other Yidden had the same idea, and his friends Eileen and Eddies decided to get cozy over to-die-for chicken – despite being married to other people.

    The illicit love at Al-Abbas didn’t stop there, and David ends up falling into bed with Shara, a fixture at the Palestinian restaurant. However, the inter-ethnic love comes at an anti-Semitic price, with Shara screaming “Zionist pig!” and “Show me the Promised Land!” in the throws of passion.

    The “Curb” star, however, was unfazed by her slurs, telling his skullcap-wearing buddy that “the penis doesn’t care about race, creed or color. It just wants to go ‘home’”.

    it’s hard for me to imagine how they pulled this off (was it in his imagination?). maybe i need to revise my opinion!

    • Eleanor Kilroy
      July 29, 2011, 11:14 am

      Maybe they didn’t quite get the satire of hasbara either. This is a clip of Larry having sex with Shara:

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 11:19 am

        3 words: L. O. L.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 12:55 pm

        Imagine this as a show depicting the sexual attraction of an attractive black woman for a KKK guy, say David Duke. See how it’s loaded? I guess the irony that Muslims too are circumcised and don’t eat pork escaped him? Imagine the dialogue if she were a Jew, he a David Duke look-alike; it would have to be changed, so she’d be crying out in ecstasy, “Fuck me uncircumsized bastard, how’s this pork chop? How’re these mashed taters n gravy? Take me to the end times! Apolocalpyse now!” Then the Duke guy would could descend the stairs to meet his buddy, all proud of his intact cock uber alles. Would that be as funny? We will never know since it will never get on American TV.

      • kalithea
        July 29, 2011, 3:04 pm


      • annie
        July 29, 2011, 2:23 pm

        i’m completely revising my opinion upthread.

      • Oscar
        July 30, 2011, 7:01 pm

        Me too. I only saw the isolated clip. Must watch the whole episode.

    • Donald
      July 29, 2011, 11:15 am

      Ugh, I hadn’t read about that either. I suppose it’s possible this was a satire on Larry still (if it was in his imagination), but it sounds an awful lot like that sort of balance we often see in the mainstream–you can never criticize the pro-Israeli side without somehow claiming that they are more sinned against than sinning.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 29, 2011, 12:29 pm

        “you can never criticize the pro-Israeli side without somehow claiming that they are more sinned against than sinning.”


  11. optimax
    July 29, 2011, 11:19 am

    I haven’t watched his show recently but Larry David mocks everybody. I’ve seen him make fun of holocaust survivors and saw him wrestle with Joseph, a member of a living Nativity. Seinfeld was about a group of people who completely lacked empathy for others and was un-p.c.–making out at Schinlder’s List. At best he’s hilarious and sometimes he’s annoying–the bickering is at times over-the-top.

  12. kapok
    July 29, 2011, 11:51 am

    Never understood the appeal of that show. The satire was too heavy-handed in my estimation. DAE feel they were being manipulated? Oh, and the nebbishy, inoffensive, long-suffering sensitive soul at the center HAS BEEN DONE TO DEATH!

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2011, 1:10 pm

      “Oh, and the nebbishy, inoffensive, long-suffering sensitive soul at the center HAS BEEN DONE TO DEATH!”

      And man-oh-man, don’t I know it!

  13. Chu
    July 29, 2011, 12:05 pm

    This scene was perfect for Larry David. It’s part of his
    shtick to be this shallow. He’s the perfect asshole.

    • kalithea
      July 29, 2011, 3:02 pm

      In that case, he should give the money he makes on one episode, this episode to a Palestinian charity.

  14. kalithea
    July 29, 2011, 12:16 pm

    That whole sex scene is just grotesque. Larry David has the luxury of spinning tragedy into fantasy; rather obscenity, and it’s one thing to satirize tragic events that happened decades ago and oppression and hardship in the present and to use a character representing a Muslim woman in a soft-core skit.

    I prefer that David overtly ridicule settlers for instance and have sex with a Moldovan Jewish frump, then come out on another venue and condemn the Occupation and theft of land. But this is cheap and cowardly humor at the expense of present-day tragedy, exploiting the suffering of Palestinians and portraying Palestinian women as sex-crazed, anti-Semitic vixens.

    The more I see of this the more appalling I find it.

    • EmmaZunz
      July 29, 2011, 12:36 pm

      Don’t get all indignant. It’s comedy. It’s just putting strongly held political views in a comic light thru sex with the enemy.

      It’s not “portraying Palestinian women as sex-crazed, anti-Semitic vixens” – just creating one amusing female Palestinian-American character.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 1:02 pm

        Make that one amusing female character of a different ethic group depicted similarly. Good luck finding one on Amerian TV. Instead what we have is Jaimie Pressley on My Name Is Earl. What do you think of that depiction of a white goyish American female?

      • EmmaZunz
        July 29, 2011, 1:20 pm

        What? Never watched that programme.

      • kalithea
        July 29, 2011, 1:14 pm

        According to YOU. I find this humor SICK and the product of ignorant self-indulgence and privilege. It’s easy to turn tragedy into satire while immersed in a comfortably numb Hollywood lifestyle.

      • kalithea
        July 29, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Maybe if Larry David undertook a crusade to end the Occupation and help pave the way for Palestinian Statehood as George Clooney did with South Sudan I could respect him in spite of this satire. But as far as I’m concerned this is crass EXPLOITATION of the suffering of others.

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 7:19 pm

        Were there any OTHER depictions of Palestinians that were different at all anywhere in the episode?

        One instance is comedy relief. A whole cast in veritable black-face is racial epithet.

      • Oscar
        July 31, 2011, 10:47 am

        Chaos, you may be right. I am a fan of the show, but didn’t see the full episode. The two minute clip in the Palestinian chicken restaurant was hilarious — absurd to the point of clever commentary on the stupidity of the hasbara. The sex scene, however, was indeed grotesque and bizarre. I need to see the entire show to see if Larry David deserves the scorn Eleanor suggests.

        Eleanor, I recommend you swap out the clips on this post — the sex scene is far more offensive than the restaurant scene.

      • MHughes976
        July 31, 2011, 11:17 am

        In the tradition of the portrayal of religious and political allegiances in sexual terms that goes back to the Bible? I still find Hosea, who uses this imagery, quite shocking when I can get beyond the sense of comfortable familiarity with the Bible that King James imparted to me as a child. I bet it seemed outrageous in the eighth century BCE.

  15. seanmcbride
    July 29, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Since Larry David has made a career of brilliantly parodying and provoking Jews, African-Americans, whites, Christians, women, etc. wouldn’t it have been rude and discriminatory of him to leave out Arabs and Palestinians?

    Yes, the episode was offensive. It was also quite clever and funny. I am not sure where Larry David stands on Mideast politics or any other issue. He may not be sure himself. He’s a comedian, not a political activist.

    I was annoyed that he (or his characters) conflated opposition to Likud Zionism (as represented by the amusing Marty Funkhouser character) with generalized antisemitism. So, he annoyed me. He also made me laugh out loud several times. I am grateful for his creative work.

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 7:20 pm

      He’s a man who gets rich off of propagating racial stereotypes. Some of us kind of have a problem with that.

  16. seanmcbride
    July 29, 2011, 1:28 pm

    Larry David’s quintessentially Jewish mind: bold, complex, contemplative, curious, elusive, paradoxical, self-contradictory self-critical, subversive, etc. What’s not to like?

    • marc b.
      July 29, 2011, 2:44 pm

      bold, complex, contemplative, curious, elusive, paradoxical, self-contradictory self-critical, subversive, etc.

      i find david repulsive, and it’s not the ‘offensive’ bit that gets me. (‘harold and kumar’ and ‘bad santa’, for example, are crude and offensive, but hysterical.) i’m glad you used the word ‘subversive’, because its definition was causing me some discomfort in the Kos/Weiss thread below. the success of ‘jewish’ humor, in america at least, is based on its subversiveness, with the likes of the marx brothers throwing a pie, literal or metaphorical, in the face of a rigid social system. as outsiders subversion was a productive enterprise. jewish comedians like david are sitting atop the peak of the social hierarchy, but still carry the underdog chip on their shoulders. so what is david subverting now? nothing really. he is privileged, and doesn’t risk any of his privileges by telling a few inside jokes in public, and the telling of the jokes (which as has been pointed out wouldn’t be tolerated if the ethnic polarities were reshuffled) is a symbol which reinforces his privilege. that’s what weiss is facing with the Kos nitwits. ‘subversive’ tactics used by the privileged, which are basically a means of protecting privilege and in some cases just scorched earth, ignorant nihilism.

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2011, 2:51 pm

      “Larry David’s quintessentially Jewish mind: bold, complex, contemplative, curious, elusive, paradoxical, self-contradictory self-critical, subversive, etc. What’s not to like?”

      Well, frankly, to someone like me who does my best
      to do my duty to God and my country
      and to obey the Jewish Law, tries
      to help other people at all times, and
      keep myself physically strong,
      mentally awake, and morally straight, his character is very problematic.

    • kalithea
      July 29, 2011, 7:24 pm

      You forgot stupid with a capital S and pig.

  17. iamuglow
    July 29, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I was upset by the clip at first…

    but from reading more about the episode, (there is a Ground Zero mosque reference in it), I guess Larry is being ironic. I hope so, because
    I’m not used to not laughing at his show.

    Googling around, shows he has been involved with some some Pro-Israel events..including one at Harvard that ‘honored Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz for his legal acumen and “unshakable” advocacy for Israel.’

    link to

    but there is also a more recent interview where he says…..

    “You don’t go to services on Rosh Hashana, I asked, treading dangerously close to a Larry David moment.

    “Nah. I used to go to when I was married, that was part of my marriage arrangement, but it isn’t anymore,” he laughed.

    Neither is Israel, apparently. When I asked if David had ever visited the homeland of the Jewish people, he answered, “No, I have no particular interest. Naturally, I want Israel to prosper and survive, but I’m not active in my support.”

    • kalithea
      July 29, 2011, 2:34 pm

      He wants Israel to prosper and survive and has been involved in some pro-Israel events.

      ‘NUF SAID!

      Next time he should have sex with an Orthodox Jew…spewing some obsenity while she’s engaged with him in the act…see how that’ll go over with the Zionist community!

      • iamuglow
        July 29, 2011, 2:47 pm

        Now that you mention it, I think he does sleep with a Orthodox woman who owns a dry cleaning business during one episode.

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 3:21 pm

        Played by the same woman who plays the Palestinian woman in this episode.

        She also played a burqa wearing Muslim woman who he sees without the burqa (I think) in a different episode.

        I noted this, without all the extra details, in a previous comment here

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 7:21 pm

        That should really be our sign. There probably isn’t an actual Muslim in the cast. Heck, we’d be lucky if there were a Christian anywhere in the cast.

      • kalithea
        July 29, 2011, 7:21 pm

        I don’t care if he slept with Genghis Khan!!!!! THIS EPISODE IS WRONG, and if you don’t see how wrong it is then maybe you should hang around a site that doesn’t concern itself with the injustices, and abuses that people who he exploited to get a laugh and a buck are suffering at the hands of ZIONISTS. Maybe you should visit Atlasshrugs where I’m sure they’re in STITCHES over this!

      • kalithea
        July 29, 2011, 7:41 pm

        Reply meant for iamuglow.

      • iamuglow
        July 30, 2011, 11:39 am

        I haven’t even seen the episode yet. But whatever, you’re just silly. If I don’t agree with you, I shouldnt be on Mondoweiss?

  18. Taxi
    July 29, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Larry David might be funny to look at, but he’s also ugly to look at – let’s get real here!

    He most certainly is the antithesis of human sexual or sensual desire. In fact, measured by any average sexometer, Larry David ranks in the category of a sexual ‘twerp’.

    I’d like to see him inviting some ’48 Palestinian refugee family into his posh home on his series and fall in love and make babies with one of the Arab daughters before I would even believe that Larry David isn’t drenched in Eau De Zionism.

    Funny? Well zionism ain’t funny business that’s for sure!

  19. iamuglow
    July 29, 2011, 1:40 pm

    All this talk of I/P satire reminded me of an episode of Its always Sunny in Philadelphia. Season 2, Episode 2….The Gang Goes Jihad. In it, an Israeli business man tries to claim ownership of the land around their bar based on an old deed. Naturally the Israeli eventually erects a fence around their bar. Here is a scene from youtube of them behind the fence.

    link to

    I thought it was amazing it made it on to TV. Hopefully it’s a sign of times.

    • Audrey
      July 29, 2011, 3:51 pm

      Okay I didn’t even see this; but that’s the first thing I thought of when I read this.

  20. kalithea
    July 29, 2011, 2:52 pm

    So here’s a Jew who wants Israel to survive and prosper, who rubs shoulders with Dersh, who doesn’t even publicly condemn the occupation or defend Palestinians, whose immersed in Hollywood culture and superficiality, a million miles away from the tragedy of oppression, and who has the gall to exploit the suffering of Palestinians to make a “funny” point about Jewish hypersensitivity all for a few bucks and a good laugh while Palestinians suffer oppression and humiliation at the hands of Israeli Jews who could care less what the joke is.


  21. Les
    July 29, 2011, 3:29 pm

    His white thinking is at the heart of this.

  22. seanmcbride
    July 29, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Someone help reality check me: overall hasn’t Larry David been tougher on Jews, and on himself, than on any other ethnic, religious, cultural or identity group? Have you actually paid attention to the overall body of his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm?

    Expanding on this just a bit: Larry David’s quintessentially Jewish mind: analytical, bold, complex, contrarian, contemplative, curious, elusive, independent, introspective paradoxical, self-contradictory self-critical, skeptical, subversive, etc. What’s not to like?

    If I were a Palestinian, it’s quite likely that I would little humor in this last episode. Granted. I might even be outraged. But is Larry David a hardline Likud Zionist like Bill Maher? Let’s see some proof. I don’t get the sense that he is political in a dogmatic or programmatic way. Maher, on the other hand, is obviously really worked up about Israeli issues and sometimes sounds like Pamela Geller or Anders Breivik on Islamic issues. (But he can still be funny despite that baggage.)

    • Haytham
      July 29, 2011, 7:05 pm


      If you are the same seanmcbride from Greenwald’s site, then you and I have quite a few agreeable conversations, including one that I remember where I beat up on a guy by the name of Gator90…

      Anyway, I will post this for the 3rd time assuming you haven’t seen it. Larry David is an Israel booster and along with Jerry Seinfeld and others has done fundraisers that have directly or indirectly funded the IDF. I did a google search on him on google last week and saw some (pdf versions) of the invites that went out to potential (wealthy) donors. He is a hardcore Zionist, maybe worse than Bill Maher.

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 7:23 pm

      People are talking up and down the thread about how he actively participates in fundraisers for the IDF, actually.

    • Les
      July 29, 2011, 7:50 pm

      “Tougher on” should be a reminder of the actual difference between Labor and its Likud opponent when it came to support for ethnic cleansing and occupation. Both supported it. What they did disagree on, was its pace which Labor thought unseemly because the too rapid pace was attracting public attention and disrepute.

  23. Audrey
    July 29, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Does anyone remember the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode in which an Israeli buys the building next to the bar and it turns out part of the bar crosses the property line, so the Israeli decides he is going to take “what is rightfully his” and the gang ends up accidentally blowing up his building?

    Similarly distasteful, but hilarious.

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 7:24 pm

      Yes, but Israelis actually behave like that. The only thing satirical is it happening in the US instead of on the West Bank.

  24. yesspam
    July 29, 2011, 3:53 pm

    The question to ask is would two Palestinian actors get away with a similar skit based on a Jewish restaurant? No they would not. This is racist and objectionable.

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 7:24 pm

      See? That’s probably the most cogent comment on this thread, bar none.

  25. Sin Nombre
    July 29, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Here’s the thing:

    If it wasn’t intended as a satirical take on jews then of course it was simply in keeping with the extraordinary double standard we now see all that time that holds that one is just about read out of the human race if you stereotype a jewish individual based on their jewishness—about almost anything possible, no matter how light a matter … but that doing so about “arabs” or “muslims” generally—about them all being genociadaire wanna-be’s at best even—is just perfectly hunky-dory. (And indeed is an absolute staple of everyday mainstream foreign-policy analysis here.)

    But if it *was* intended as a satirical take on U.S. jews it then reflects the extraordinary assertion that while others having vicious racist views is appalling at best but more typically the vilest of vile, that when jews have them … well, at worst it’s just funny. Ha ha ha, we are supposed to go.

    And no, it’s not “over-egging the pudding” to take this too seriously, not at a time when being branded an “anti-semite”—almost no matter how lightly or ridiculously done, such as with Charles Freeman, say, or Walt or Mearsheimer—is so serious an affair not only costing such people jobs and even entire careers, but very possibly costing us wars with arabs and moslems too via excluding such people from our government and keeping similarly-minded others cowed into silence.

    And then of course there’s just simply the crystal-clear sense of smug superiority behind it all: “Ha ha ha, isn’t it funny that when you do something we don’t like we can make it socially and even professionally lethal, but when we do the same even worse … we can make sitcoms about it.”

    • Citizen
      July 29, 2011, 5:03 pm

      Yeah, I think that’s the bottom line, Sin Nombre. The untouchable smugness is what I am left with at the end of every Larry David show.

      In reality, I overheard this at a local rural car repair shop on the border of NY & PA not long ago, apropos my buddy bringing in his 1963 VW Beetle for a minor repair–it was a very friendly atmosphere:

      First local mechanic: “Wow, that’s something, German engineering!”
      Second local mechanic: “Yeah, they build good gas chambers too.”
      The shop boss: “Yeah, good at chemicals too.”
      Second local mechanic: ” Yeah they didn’t build enough of them!”
      My buddy, to me in whisper: ” Local German natives, so now you know why those German farmers over there smelled something in the air while they were tending their fields–and just looked the other way, or down, and kept plowing. But you know, these guys will give you the shirt of their back!”

      How’s that for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm? Real life can be quite smug, yes?

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 7:21 pm

        Second local mechanic: “Yeah, they build good gas chambers too.”

        Was this like, yeah good gas chambers, he he he, *uncomfortable silence*?

        Or *full steam ahead*, Yeah, chemicals too!


        I don’t know if would have been able to keep my mouth shut on that one. And as a ccw permit holder in my state, I can always back my own damn self up, if I have to.

        That is seriously despicable conversation.

      • Bumblebye
        July 29, 2011, 8:23 pm

        You spend a lot of time up in the saddle of that thoroughbred, Haythem! Those working class, working men were sorta playing on crude stereotypes while showing they were very aware that the VW company was created during and for Nazi purposes. Maybe they enjoy shocking the occasional middle class customer, use it to get the measure of them?

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 8:36 pm

        The latter.
        I was a guest in the garage–from out of town. You would have regretted opening your mouth, believe me. What the hell is a ccw permit holder? A gun carry permit? My how brave you are. This was dry, jocular bantering amongst the workers in the garage. The bantering when on as to other spontaneous matters ASAP without a pause, as they worked. Maybe we should offer the minor slice of reality to Larry David so he could add you into it, you know, for the joke?

      • Haytham
        July 29, 2011, 9:31 pm


        Unfortunately, the ccw permit is a byproduct of an occupation that required its members to have same, due to transit with cash, etc. This was after law school but before the bar exam for me, and it was a silly side project that I should have left alone.

        Anyway, renewing it has been simple (only had to be done once so far) but I would be lying if I claimed to make any use of it currently. Actually, I used it as a second form of ID at the closing on my current house.

        Please, forgive the reaction, it was an upsetting conversation you recounted.

      • Citizen
        July 29, 2011, 11:57 pm

        Haytham, I don’t understand why you brought up your concealed carry weapons permit in the first place. And what does it have to do with law school or any bar exam in any state? You were so upset by the dry conversation I experienced while waiting in a garage while my friend’s old VW got fixed you could only think you’d have pulled out your gun and fired away? I don’t get you.

      • Chaos4700
        July 30, 2011, 1:29 am

        Clearly, you’ve never been bullied to the point of rage, Citizen. People in grade school called me a LOT of names. That died down in direct proportion to the number of bloody noses and trips to the nurse I caused.

        Incidentally, that’s why I do NOT carry a gun. A) I know I could be pushed to the point of using it irresponsibly, B) I’m perfectly dangerous enough unarmed.

      • Haytham
        July 30, 2011, 7:49 am

        Citizen July 29, 2011 at 11:57 pm
        Haytham, I don’t understand why you brought up your concealed carry weapons permit in the first place. And what does it have to do with law school or any bar exam in any state? You were so upset by the dry conversation I experienced while waiting in a garage while my friend’s old VW got fixed you could only think you’d have pulled out your gun and fired away? I don’t get you.

        Maybe you didn’t “get [me]” because you didn’t really read my reply to your reply. I guess words “ccw, law school and bar exam” get you more fired up than talk of ovens, chemicals, and German engineering. Tell me, did you get all indignant with those guys like you did with me?

        Are you scolding me for believing there are times when a prudent person should be armed? Or is it that the reference to hated firearms and hated lawyers in the same sentence was too much for you…? Are you reacting to a cliche?

        Like Chaos said, sometimes life is not all nice and friendly and even if you try to avoid trouble, some people want to hurt you based on what you look like or what you wear or some other reason that is impossible to foresee. I have never used a weapon in any way except for shooting at paper targets at a gun range. I don’t even hunt.

        Frankly, I don’t “get” your reaction either. This is particularly ugly:

        You were so upset by the dry conversation I experienced while waiting in a garage while my friend’s old VW got fixed you could only think you’d have pulled out your gun and fired away?

        Please cite, in bold if possible, where I said anything approaching that. Do you understand what “backing up” means? In what universe does it mean pulling a gun on people who are not talking to you and shooting them?

        I think you’re very, very confused. Hyperbole isn’t fun when you’re using it to put words in someone’s mouth, like that they want to commit murder. That’s just awesome. I didn’t ever expect something like that from you.

        Have I misjudged you? Did the name “Haytham” (not my real name, btw) make you more inclined to see me as some cold-blooded murderer, something that you definitely couldn’t have reasonably gotten from any post I’ve written here?

        I actually think you racially prejudged me here. I have no idea why someone as measured and thoughtful as you are would do that, but I have no interest in further sorting it out.

        Thanks for opening my eyes on this, upsetting as it is. I don’t really feel comfortable posting here anymore, so I won’t be.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 8:34 am

        What? Haytham, why do you think I racially prejudged you? I have no clue at all on your ethnic or racial background. I don’t recall ever seeing your handle on MW before this thread. Your handle conjures up absolutely nothing in my mind. So you don’t think the actual conversation I heard at that rural garage on the upstate NY-PA border would fit in a Larry David episode?

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 9:15 am

        Chaos, actually, I was bullied in both grade school and high school. My family moved around a lot, so I was often the new kid. This happened in both small midwestern towns and in the big city. In Junior high I was suspended from school for a fight at a bus stop–at that time, In Cleveland, Ohio, the Jr high I went to was full of ethnic gangs–my dad had always taught me to defend myself and “fight clean.” He never knew what it was like to face a gang. He advised I “taken them on, one at a time.” But they always hung together. After months of living in daily fear, and getting bullied, I decided to take them all on–at that bus stop. I jumped from the bus on to the biggest one of their gang. Eventually the cops came. Both myself and the main guy I was fighting got suspended. It was not taken into consideration that I had been bullied for months by that gang. Later, in a small town Ohio HS gym class, I was attacked all the time by a bunch of frat rats from the upper class, while the gym coach pretended not to notice. And so on.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 9:29 am

        Haytham, I am both a lawyer and a gun owner. My government taught me the use of a firearm when they gave me a rifle at age 18. Of course, it also gave me cigarettes in little packs that came with my field rations. Anyway, I clicked on your handle and reviewed your prior comments on MW.
        I don’t know what your eyes are now open to that they were not before, but I hope you keep posting here. You have a lot worthwhile to bring to the discussion table here at MW as your previous comments on other threads on MW clearly show without a hitch.

      • Haytham
        July 30, 2011, 9:57 am

        Citizen July 30, 2011 at 8:34 am
        What? Haytham, why do you think I racially prejudged you? I have no clue at all on your ethnic or racial background. I don’t recall ever seeing your handle on MW before this thread.

        I’ve been posting here for a while. You’ve replied to me more than once, before yesterday.

        Jerome Slater responds re right of return
        Citizen July 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm
        Haytham, I agree with your assessment of Slater’s POV. Let’s see if Slater responds to you.

        I came back because I was very curious to see if you would attempt to justify that you accused me of aspiring to cold-blooded murder. I’m glad you didn’t. Anyway, as they say, it’s been real. I probably will still read MW but I won’t participate in the comments. As Phil has said many times, this is an intra-Jewish “conversation” area and that doesn’t include me.

      • Taxi
        July 30, 2011, 10:39 am

        Krykee ‘ol crumbs of jayzus!


        PLEASE just think of the whole shebang as a bumby-ride across a minefield – that’s mondoland for you!


        But seriously, c’mon sometimes even bffs elbow-up each other in elevators! Our good Citizen (yes you buddy) wanted to understand better and you over-explained and wires got crossed and jumbled.

        Heck Haytham don’t just go! I’m not jewish and I’m here, been here a while, not because of mondo jewicentricness (well it’s a word now – poetic license and all) – me I’m here cuz of people like you and Citizen: smart, honest, wise, informed, witty – dare I say ‘enjoyable’?


        Stick around kiddo – it’s all good in the nay-bore-hood!

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 10:40 am

        You are right, I was speaking hyperbolically at that time–I never thought you were aspiring to cold-blooded murder. I just did not sense that you had any real contact with grass roots America. Judging from your past comments I do think you know American law, and I do think you are quick to spot a hypocrite. I know know that you are of Lebanese-Palestinian extraction, born in the USA and currently a dual citizen–you described yourself as an Israeli citizen in a past comment.
        You have experience living both in the USA and in Israel (& also, e.g., in Egypt)–as a Palestinian Israeli. And you apparently have family here and there. That makes you very valuable on MW, both as an honest objective commenter and one with personal experiences I for one never had–I never lived outside the USA, except in Germany. Finally, I again beg you to keep commenting here. Although Phil does posit his main objective is an intra-Jewish conversation, he himself is not married to a Jew–and he constantly has to contend with his own mother regarding his relatively liberal open heart and mind. That’s saying something, yes? You certainly are included as much as I am on MW–and I’ve been here for a long time. I am not Jewish. I am of Irish-German descent, brought up as a Roman Catholic; I left all conventional religions in my heart at age 14. I don’t think one could get much more American than I am–the kind who thinks only a real friend will criticize that friend to his/her face, while remaining open to the friend’s observations about such a friend. There is very little I agree with my government on, either as to domestic or foreign policy.

      • annie
        July 30, 2011, 11:05 am

        haytham, don’t even think about leaving us, not for one second. we need your voice here. please. let’s not let some skirmishing on a thread be the cause of loosing your voice. i value yours as i value citizens too although i might not see everything eye to eye as he does i know he’s right about the country having very different cultures throughout. i haven’t read all the things he said to you but sometimes people speak their mind without assessing the full implications of how those thoughts might be perceived by others. we all have disagreements.

        don’t go! don’t go! don’t go! i will take it very personally!

      • thetumta
        July 30, 2011, 11:08 am

        And your part of it? get over yourself.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 11:13 am

        Thanks, Taxi. You and I are not the only non-Jews here on a regular basis. The USA is 98% Gentile. Personally, I don’t see how any American really concerned about “Whither America,” and “Whither Humanism,” and “Whither individualism,” would not end up on MW.

        Who can deny “the Jewish Question” is perennial? Chicken or egg, it sure has a long historical record.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 11:19 am

        Annie, thanks. I value your contributions here too. And yes, I don’t have the imagination to fully anticipate how my speaking my mind will be interpreted by readers of MW. I see you suffer from the same failure. I think our rare disagreements have very much to do with our personal experiences growing up in the USA and to what extent either of us have lived in a bubble since, say age 18.

      • Taxi
        July 30, 2011, 12:15 pm

        Hey citizen I only just realized you’re not jewish. I think I thought you were jewish cuz you seemed quite knowledgeable on religious judaism, quoting rabbi this and rabbi that, 19th/20th century jewish diaspora etc. Stuff that I don’t know much about cuz I ain’t really interested in judaism per se. But obviously I’m interested in zionism and it’s effects on Historic Palestine so that’s where judaism begins to link for me. It’s not to disrespect judaism, it’s just that life’s too short and I have other interests in life that demand much time-investment etc.

        So you’re Irish-German huh? LOL buddy that’s like Fire and Ice! But seriously, you’re really lucky you didn’t live in London post WW2 – you woulda been double-suspect there. I was 14 in the mid seventies and living/studying in London and I kid you not, even 30+ years later, EVERYBODY was still talking about Hitler and the war – I mean even kids at school would often use the term ‘nazi’ to cuss-up on an authoritarian teacher out of earshot. The Brits were also simultaneously paranoid by the IRA for all the bombs that were exploding around the city at that time too. It was fear/mockery of the German and the Irish in them days in England: full-throttle. These days, however, both the Germans and the Irish can breath a sigh of relief – they’ve been replaced by moslems and arabs as the current targets/victims of hate in the UK.

        Go figure. Collective humanity is a truly pathetic and regressive animal – wasting eons upon eons just chasing it’s own frigging tail.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 4:45 pm

        Taxi, yeah. Growing up is a life-time affair. I guess that’s why Maslow’s triangle is so wide at the base, so tiny at its top. So what’s your personal background? You’re not a Checker car are you? :)

      • Taxi
        July 30, 2011, 5:24 pm

        “You’re not a Checker car are you?”

        LOL Citizen! No I’m not, I’m a classic :-)

      • MHughes976
        July 30, 2011, 5:45 pm

        I share annie’s sentiments. There are far too many bad voices around for us to afford losing one of the good ones.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 6:10 pm

        Hey, Checker is the classic taxi cab in the USA.

      • annie
        July 29, 2011, 10:06 pm

        you over heard that?

        i’ve never ever heard anyone say anything like that. that’s hideous. i can’t even believe i’m reading it on this thread.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 12:00 am

        annie, some of us on this thread have not lived their entire lives in a bubble–America is a pretty big place and everybody here wasn’t born with a tin spoon or more in their mouth.

      • annie
        July 30, 2011, 12:49 am

        there are a lot of places in this country without tin spoons where people don’t talk like that.

        ” Yeah they didn’t build enough of them!”

        i’d get my car out of there in a split second.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 1:02 am

        well, annie, if your car was a 1963 VW beetle, where would you take it to get it fixed, knowing it would be fixed right, perhaps especially if you lived in a rural area? Talk is easy.

      • Koshiro
        August 1, 2011, 6:40 pm

        I’m sure they were just trying to convey a brilliant satire of casual gentile American* antisemitism.

        * They were Americans, right? The phrase “local German natives” confuses me.

  26. DICKERSON3870
    July 29, 2011, 5:06 pm

    RE: “Larry David and Jeff enthusiastically check-out a (fictional) L.A. Palestinian restaurant…and whilst praising the cuisine they set about insulting the people.” ~ Kilroy


    (excerpts) In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defence mechanisms (or defense mechanisms) are unconscious[1] psychological strategies brought into play by various entities to cope with reality and to maintain self-image. Healthy persons normally use different defences throughout life. An ego defence mechanism becomes pathological only when its persistent use leads to maladaptive behaviour such that the physical and/or mental health of the individual is adversely affected. The purpose of ego defence mechanisms is to protect the mind/self/ego from anxiety, social sanctions or to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.[2]…
    …In George Eman Vaillant’s (1977) categorization, defences form a continuum related to their psychoanalytical developmental level.[11] Vaillant’s levels are:
    Level I – pathological defences (i.e. psychotic denial, delusional projection)
    Level II – immature defences (i.e. fantasy, projection, passive aggression, acting out)
    Level III – neurotic defences (i.e. intellectualization, reaction formation, dissociation, displacement, repression)
    Level IV – mature defences (i.e. humour, sublimation, suppression, altruism, anticipation)

    …Level 4 – Mature
    These are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults and are considered mature, even though many have their origins in an immature stage of development. They have been adapted through the years in order to optimize success in life and relationships. The use of these defences enhances pleasure and feelings of control. These defences help us integrate conflicting emotions and thoughts, while still remaining effective. Those who use these mechanisms are usually considered virtuous.
    They include:
    • Altruism: Constructive service to others that brings pleasure and personal satisfaction.
    • Anticipation: Realistic planning for future discomfort.
    Humour: Overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. The thoughts retain a portion of their innate distress, but they are “skirted round” by witticism.
    • Identification: The unconscious modelling of one’s self…

    SOURCE – link to

    • DICKERSON3870
      July 29, 2011, 8:42 pm

      P.S. QUITE CONFOUNDING: La Moustache (The Moustache) 2005 NR 85 minutes [Streaming from Netfix until 8/1/11]
      Marc (Vincent Lindon) has worn a mustache all his adult life. One day on a whim, he decides to shave it off. Certain his wife will comment on the drastic change in his appearance, Marc is baffled when neither she nor friends notice at all. Even more disturbing is that once he calls attention to it, everyone insists he’s never had a mustache. Emmanuel Carrere’s film adaptation of his novel won a 2005 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight award.
      Language: French (English subtitles)
      Netflix Availability: Streaming and DVD (Streaming until 8/1/11)
      NETFLIX LISTING – link to
      La Moustache – Trailer (VIDEO, 01:22) – link to
      P.S. Excellent score by Philip Glass!

  27. EmmaZunz
    July 29, 2011, 5:54 pm

    I’ve just watched the whole thing. The scenes linked above (first time at restaurant + sex-scene) are the only bits I found rly funny, but that’s beside the point.

    The only bit that seems dodgy to me is where the people in the restaurant all applaud Larry – this seems to suggest they all admire him for getting rid of the guy wearing his yarmulke – seems to imply they are all anti-semites. Can’t see any other reason why they’re applauding.

    As for the two funny scenes, they’re funny send-ups of people’s exaggerated fears and hatreds. That’s all I have to say. I agree to disagree with anybody who does. :)

    • Haytham
      July 29, 2011, 7:13 pm

      I respect your “agree to disagree” bit there at the end and I understand why you would choose not respond to me but I have a question.

      The only bit that seems dodgy to me is where the people in the restaurant all applaud Larry – this seems to suggest they all admire him for getting rid of the guy wearing his yarmulke – seems to imply they are all anti-semites. Can’t see any other reason why they’re applauding.

      Here’s the issue I have with this. I know that you hadn’t seen this part when commenting on the other parts that I then yelled at you about. Doesn’t seeing that part, even just that 5 minutes or so, change your entire view of the episode? Why do you think Larry David would show the “Palestinians” to be despicable racists in one scene but only be “poking fun” at them in the other scenes?

      If Larry David cares about “Free Palestine” [the poster in the restaurant], why does he have Exclusive-Absolute* style Zionist fundraisers?

      *See what I did there? Yes, I was very mean to you and I’m truly sorry. Sincerely.

      • EmmaZunz
        July 31, 2011, 11:29 am

        LOL. OK.

        You could be right, I guess that scene does change how you see the rest. On the other hand, the first restaurant scene still seems to comment that the two Jewish characters’ characterisations of the Palestinian cause are wrong.

        I don’t know anything about LD himself. I don’t think it’s impossible for somebody like him to take the mick even out of people he’s friendly with.

    • Taxi
      July 29, 2011, 7:15 pm

      What’s “dodgy” mate is the size of your ego. What’s NOT surprising is your willful numbness to the victim’s grief BECAUSE of your stubborn pride.

      • EmmaZunz
        July 31, 2011, 11:38 am

        Well excuuuuuuuse me!

      • Taxi
        July 31, 2011, 1:00 pm

        Like I said upthread Emma, ZERO TOLERANCE for racism, for racists, for their APPLAUDERS.

  28. Richard Witty
    July 29, 2011, 6:45 pm

    Another post of mine that didn’t make the cut.


    I thought the scene was funny. He’s poking fun at American Jews, or were you too obsessed to get that?

    • libra
      July 29, 2011, 8:51 pm

      RW: “I thought the scene was funny. He’s poking fun at American Jews, or were you too obsessed to get that?”

      Richard, this puts all your comments on Mondoweiss in a new light. Now I finally see what you’ve been up to all this time. Brilliant. Sheer subversive satirical brilliance. All I can say in my defence is that I wasn’t the only obsessive who didn’t get it.

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 8:54 pm

      Of course you thought the scene was funny. Larry David was basically making a concise summary of your anti-Palestinian rhetoric here. Nice of you to make a showing, I take it you’re going for any port in a storm while you’re dodging all the posts we’ve had lately about laws banning free speech in Israel, military raids on theaters, bulldozing of historical landmarks, building concentration camp walls around Palestinian communities, etc.

  29. seanmcbride
    July 29, 2011, 6:50 pm


    Surely you have noticed over several seasons of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that Larry David has been much more ruthless in dissecting the foibles of his Jewish characters than of his non-Jewish characters — right? And towards his own character he has been relentlessly merciless.

    I think what caught his eye in this last episode was the absurd (and sometimes comical) tribalism displayed by both sides in the endless Jewish/Arab wars over the holy land. I had no sense that he was favoring or elevating either side over the other. He may well feel some natural sympathy for his own cultural tradition that comes through now and then — most people from all cultural groups do.

  30. Chaos4700
    July 29, 2011, 7:25 pm

    …Is it bad that there are no Zionists on this thread at all, and I’m not just surprised, I’m disappointed? I didn’t used to be as confrontational as I am now, incidentally.

  31. yishai
    July 29, 2011, 7:52 pm

    Great discussion of what I consider a truly great comedic television accomplishment. As a radical anti-zionist Jew, I expect VERY little from L. D. or mainstream anything in the US, and it is in that context that I thought this show was amazing. Yes, Palestinians were portrayed flatly, and the two sides were [as is typical] equalized. Palestinian equalization was taken for granted and this is F-up, I agree. Old news, but never acceptable, I agree.

    What was groundbreaking, as a few mentioned here, is the frank depiction of Jewish racism, and especially US liberal Jewish racism. This is extremely rare on US tv or any media. I have a career looking for this, and find almost none ever. So this was unique. During sex, she calls him an occupier, and he gladly agrees, “yeah, I’m an occupier…” Whether just to keep the sex going or not, this is groundbreaking. Even the admission of sexual desire and attraction to a Palestinian woman, however crudely portrayed, is humanizing in the profoundly racist anti-Arab US context. In the end, L. D. defines “home” as this woman’s body, not Israel. This is subversive in intense ways.

    I don’t need or expect L. D. to be an anti-Zionist. We have our A-Z voices and organizations. But he stirred up some intense stuff here and most of it was good. He parodies the arbitrary cultural divide, which means even less in the US context. the signs on the wall he fond “hateful” were in fact, as someone else pointed out, factual, sympathetic, and actual signs we have in our homes and protests.

    There is much to debate here, as there should be, and much to analyze and discuss. But this should not just be dismissed. IN the mainstream US context, we need more factual depictions of Jewish racism and disruptions of the prevailing discourse. Larry made an intervention here, that’s all it is, an imperfect intervention that has a few things to offer.

    I also happen to think parts of this episode were comedic genius of the highest level, but that is another debate….

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 8:52 pm

      I really don’t think you guys get it. Do you really think most of the Jewish audience sat there thinking, “My God, do we sound like racists when we talk about Palestinians!” Or were they just nodding and laughing.

      • thetumta
        July 30, 2011, 11:16 am

        Give them time to think about it. They all can’t be dense ethnic morons?

    • yo_mamma
      July 30, 2011, 1:15 am

      Yishai, I’m actually with you on this.

      As always, I highly value the comments here at Mondoweiss so I almost feel funny admitting to having a position that is taking the Larry David defense position as I don’t think I’ve ever come on this site and not agreed with the majority on any posted topic.

      But, IMHO, the mere mention of the name Palestine has been something that has been utterly taboo. I have not seen any references myself in predominently Jewish media that takes an even-handed approach in showing the bandwagon mentality that gets adopted by parties who have long-standing ethnic tensions. I did like the fact that Larry isn’t necessarily going to side with Suzie or the Anti-Al-Abbas crew (and Jeff is conspicuously absent from the protest group, as far as I could tell) which to me admits to a softening of prejudices in those who prefer to think for themselves rather than taking their place within the hierarchy and submitting to groupthink.

      Jeez, now I know why I didn’t major in English literature with an emphasis on critical studies.

  32. seanmcbride
    July 29, 2011, 8:21 pm


    I am indeed the same Sean McBride with whom you shared some views in common on Glenn Greenwald’s blog.

    I Googled the issue you mentioned and noticed in the Harvard Crimson that Larry David did in fact attend a dinner in 2005 honoring Alan Dershowitz, someone whom David apparently considers a friend and whose aggressive ethnocentrism and ethnic nationalism rub me the wrong way. I don’t automatically conclude from that fact that David’s views on Mideast politics match those of Dershowitz.

    I understand that some people were greatly upset by this episode. No surprise there since David was pushing the most sensitive emotional buttons of both Arabs and Jews.

    It’s true that I am a fan of Larry David. Perhaps I am being insensitive to certain dimensions of this controversy. I am a sucker for raw talent, and Larry David has a great deal of it. He also strikes me as being a natural born iconoclast who hasn’t hesitated to aggressively deconstruct his own tradition.

    • Chaos4700
      July 29, 2011, 8:51 pm

      Are you going to at least entertain the notion that maybe Larry David actually does hate Arabs and that this was the 21st century equivalent of the ugly side of vaudeville? Yeah, I’m sorry if that tarnishes your views of him, and you know you can enjoy his humor when he’s not indulging in race hatred and pro-Zionist talking points, but let’s see this with both eyes open, right?

      • seanmcbride
        July 29, 2011, 9:14 pm

        You and I apparently didn’t view the same episode. In the episode I viewed, Larry David depicted a symmetry of excited and angry tribalism between both Jews and Arabs. He didn’t single out Arabs for special scorn. He went after his own people as well. Larry David is the furthest thing possible from being a political propagandist of any kind. He is a (sometimes misanthropic) dissector of universal human nature.

      • Chaos4700
        July 29, 2011, 9:38 pm

        Yeah, but the problem is there IS no symmetry like this in real life. In real life, it’s Zionist Jews who deny Palestinians the right to exist. And to go to school. Or the hospital. Or to eat…

  33. seanmcbride
    July 29, 2011, 8:50 pm

    Is Larry David trying to think his way through to an understanding of several thousand years of antisemitism? And is he conducting these meditative investigations in a highly subversive way? I think maybe so. And he is going much deeper into the topic than big name Ivy League scholars.

  34. dbroncos
    July 29, 2011, 9:04 pm

    EmmaZuns: “It’s sending up the mentality of Americans on both side of the conflict, Jewish and Palestinian.”


    I think its safe to say that most Americans assume that America is on Israel’s side of the conflict because that’s what we’re told by our President, congress, religious figureheads, and all manner of “opinion leaders” in the media (not just the MSM). David’s irony is lost on most Americans. His show only reinforces assumed values: Palestinians hate Jews. Palestinians are terrorists. Jewish comedians with their own TV shows are funny.

  35. Susannah
    July 30, 2011, 12:31 am

    It’s just satiric. This show is all about overblown stereotypes, so the anti-semitism and other claims about Palestinians along with Jews’ feeling of threat of right to exist (amidst Beverly Hills wealth) is to show how absurd those labels are. I’ve been in the ending situation with the two polarized sides protesting at my college and I think thats a good commentary on how very separate the two sides seem to be shown in the US. Also, I agree with what some of the others have posted that I am glad they actually showed posters depicting occupation and the asymmetrical power struggle in this conflict (the right vs. might and freedom for palestine), even if it was meant to be overlooked by their comments (which is the reaction the majority of american jews would have to those types of images anyways.)

  36. yo_mamma
    July 30, 2011, 1:50 am

    One thing is true: there’s grumbling on both sides of the aisle. Take this review of “Palestinian Chicken” from the Jewish Journal:

    link to

  37. Eleanor Kilroy
    July 30, 2011, 7:21 am

    This has been a fascinating thread, thanks everyone. I’ve reflected on my response to the video and my post, and realised I made one initial error, which is that whilst I linked to the Haaretz article in final paragraph that goes into more detail about the episode, I didn’t refer to the problematic sex scene, etc. Also, I should have speculated that the language and cultural assumptions were all the more shocking to me because I’m not American and in the UK I think I can say that it’s a different cultural scene, and the portrayal of American-Jewish paranoia, racism, whatever you say it is, and of American Palestinians was alien and uncomfortable (other Brits may disagree!). And yes, I get it that Larry David’s whole thing is to make us uncomfortable, but usually isn’t it just him saying ignorant, racist and offensive things, and here ‘decent bloke’ Jeff leads the charge? Do Americans really think Palestinians and Arabs identify American Jews first and foremost as Jewish and as indistinguishable from Israelis and occupiers and Zionists, and hate symbols of Jewishness, like the skull-cap, and this is a fear that is being satirised here rather than propagated? Boy, things really are bad. Whichever way you look at it, it’s rather nasty and disturbing and didn’t make me laugh!

  38. eljay
    July 30, 2011, 8:46 am

    – Palestinians (Ahmed and his friend) are cocky, smarmy customers in a restaurant with pictures of Auschwitz and “Visit Israel” on the wall which they sneer at.
    – Jewish Israelis are depicted as hateful, racist caricatures.
    – Ahmed snidely suggests that the group of militant-looking Israelis huddled in the corner is likely plotting to attack Palestinians and steal more of their land.
    – Later, Ahmed gets fucked by Sarah, a Jewish Israeli woman whose desire for him overpowers her hated for both him and his people. (“Fuck me, you Mohammedan bastard! Explode your love in me like your suicide bombers explode themselves in our pizzerias!”)

    I can see how that would be ironically pointing out how absurd those fears are in the Ahmed’s life. It would actually be a smart comment on Palestinian mentality!

    Yeah, right.

    • eljay
      July 30, 2011, 9:00 am

      >> I can see how that would be ironically pointing out how absurd those fears are in the Ahmed’s life. It would actually be a smart comment on Palestinian mentality!

      I forgot to add: I can only imagine that Jewish Israelis (and perhaps Jews in general) would appreciate the cleverness of the writing and savour the irony.

      • Citizen
        July 30, 2011, 9:21 am

        There’s an article in Haartze about the episode; judging by most of the comments under it, the Israelis like the episode just the way it is.

  39. CigarGod
    July 30, 2011, 9:59 am

    In one of Woody Allen’s movies, he makes a comment:
    “I used to be of the Jewish persuasion, but then I converted to narcissism”.

    I’m not so sure Larry David’s comment is as clear cut/easy to understand.

  40. MHughes976
    July 30, 2011, 10:15 am

    If you mean, eljay, that the only way to read this scenario would be as an endorsement of the smarmy Palestinian characters and their attitudes, I would question that.
    If you simply inverted the Jewish/Palestinian roles you would be giving the group that is actually weaker the attitudes of the group that is actually stronger. That would make the whole effect surrealistic – which a talented writer might attempt but it would give the audience an extra layer of difficulty to get through.
    Generally speaking I don’t think one should ever treat a poetic or artistic exploration of a political problem simply as if it were a statement of a point of view. The mark of artistic success is making everyone feel involved but (at least if they stop and think) disturbed, as to some extent this show seems to have succeeded in doing. Kipling’s various presentations of the British Empire succeed in this way, I think, even though some people would react to them only with complacency.

  41. tokyobk
    July 30, 2011, 11:07 am

    Witness two other recent scenarios:

    1) Larry fires his ersatz “Jewish Lawyer” and hires and aggressive, obviously genuine one and the result is he loses his house to his ex and a valuable friendship. Hoisted by his own petard.

    2) He is asked to watch a computer in a restaurant and, having to leave asks in turn a “black guy” to watch it. When it goes missing the owner is furious when Larry tells him he asked a “black guy” to watch it. The owner betrays his own racism that larry would do such a supposedly irresponsible thing but quickly composes himself when he realizes he is breaking social rules. Though the computer is eventually returned (in another twist exposing racist assumptions), the owner has to forgo trying to find it since to do so would call attention to his racism.

    It may not be your kind of humor but LD show is based on line-stepping, to quote Charlie Murphy, and Palestinian Chicken is in the same vein.

  42. tokyobk
    July 30, 2011, 11:13 am

    That said the sexual enticement aspect of his love interest bothered me. His moral dilemma at the end was to “stand with his people” (who were behaving insanely) or have an incestuous threesome. I found it strange and unfunny.

  43. marc b.
    July 30, 2011, 11:19 am

    an excellent post at ‘huffington’ on racism in popular culture:

    link to

  44. seanmcbride
    July 30, 2011, 11:22 am

    Well, Larry David has succeeded in his mission of righteously pissing off nearly everyone from all sides concerning Mideast politics. That’s how he makes the big bucks. :)

    Do Palestinians and Arabs have greater cause for being pissed off by this episode than Jews? Yes. Obviously so.

    Is Larry David annoying and obnoxious? That’s the point. He is also funny.

    I was initially angered by the episode, but then cooled down after thinking about the overall patterns and themes in Curb Your Enthusiasm. IMO, Larry David, like many brilliant satirists, is a universal misanthrope who is especially tough on himself and his “people.”

    If you’re still hot under the collar, I get it. This episode was unusually inflammatory.

    • Donald
      July 30, 2011, 12:42 pm

      “like many brilliant satirists, is a universal misanthrope who is especially tough on himself and his “people.””

      I don’t trust universal misanthropes. Jonathan Swift might be the exception. Twain isn’t one though he is sometimes called that–in “Huckleberry Finn” he shows Jim to be ignorant and maybe pokes very gentle fun at some of the stuff he believes, but shows him to be a basically noble human being. At least in that novel Twain saved his nasty barbs for people who deserved it. The funny thing about universal misanthropy is that it doesn’t really challenge the status quo. The powerful are ridiculed, but so are those living under the boot. Ha, ha, we’re all scummy, so what difference does it make if one faction has power and another doesn’t? But in this show those living under the Israeli boot are also would-be genocidal maniacs. The Jewish characters are ridiculed for their absurd paranoia and then it turns out that they’re partly right. There’s no danger of a Palestinian restaurant in America, but the Palestinians really are anti-semites. Hilarious, I suppose.

      At best, people who already assume that Palestinians are anti-semites will go away thinking that some American Jews overreact to this in silly ways.

      More generally, I don’t enjoy nihilistic humor of this sort except in very small doses. It’s mean spirited and nasty and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Obviously others disagree.

  45. seanmcbride
    July 30, 2011, 11:34 am

    Bottom line: is Larry David trying to incite hatred or violence against any ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.? I don’t think so. He is trying to get us to notice the absurdity of much human behavior cutting across all cultural groups. He steps on a lot of toes in this enterprise.

    • Taxi
      July 30, 2011, 12:23 pm

      Larry David is doing what he needs to do to keep making money off his show so he can have a nice lifestyle and by-the-by help israel “prosper” further.


  46. AhVee
    July 30, 2011, 12:54 pm

    I’m amazed by the amount of people posting here who find this rotten skit “okay”.
    Even if it was “purposefully overwrought, a reflection of Jewish paranoia” I’m quite sure the “irony” will fly over most viewers heads completely, and, even though they might notice it’s over the top, I don’t think the conclusion they’ll come to upon seeing this is “man he’s wrong on pretty much all accounts, it’s comedic because it’s so wrong”, the whole Arabs / Palestinians = anti-semitic thing’s out there already, likely they’ll perceive it as yet another (albeit overwrought) affirmation of an idea that’s already in their heads. Do we really need yet another venue for that message to be spread – in comedy or elsewhere?

    And the fact that this man has financially supported Israel does nothing for you guys, I guess. I’m supposing that if a Muslim comedian had a backstory of supporting oh say the Iranian government in any way, shape or form, he’d be discredited in the blink of an eye by his viewers and the mass media. I don’t see how there’s much difference here, this guy’s getting enough slack already.

    • annie
      July 30, 2011, 12:59 pm

      ahvee, not everyone who watched it (like myself) knew about his avid support for israel when they first responded. i have revised my opinion after watching a brief segment of another clip from the episode. this thread is so long now i don’t expect anyone to read all the comments, but just glancing at parts of the thread doesn’t reflect the full conversation (if you did).

  47. seanmcbride
    July 30, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Hey — this discussion got me to thinking — who have been the most influential Arab-American and Muslim-American comedians in American culture over the last decade or two? Who is the Arab-American or Muslim-American version of Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler or Lewis Black?

    And another question: what factors in Jewish culture have produced so many brilliant Jewish comedians?

    Larry David, through his talent, earned an influential platform in American culture to say whatever he likes in whatever way he chooses to say it. That’s how the game is played.

    • Koshiro
      July 31, 2011, 8:19 am

      And another question: what factors in Jewish culture have produced so many brilliant Jewish comedians?

      American TV audiences being morons with horrible taste?

      • seanmcbride
        July 31, 2011, 11:36 am

        Koshiro: which comedians from around the world do you most admire?

      • Koshiro
        August 1, 2011, 4:49 am

        I wouldn’t say I “admire” any comedians, but I do like Mitchell & Webb.

      • seanmcbride
        August 1, 2011, 2:11 pm

        I took a look at a few Mitchell and Webb clips on Youtube. Funny, but a bit soft, not as much edge as Ricky Gervais (in the British comedy context), and definitely not in the same league as Curb Your Enthusiasm. Just my low-brow American opinion, of course. :)

      • Citizen
        August 1, 2011, 3:26 pm

        I took a look at a couple of the M & W clips–I picked the one on SS guys discussing their cap’s skull emblem & and another on a Nazi grammar freak searching for Jews. I think the comedy relied on logical absurdity, rather than biting on the human condition. So I’d say they were academically sophmoric, but “a bit soft” in comparison to RG or LD will do fine.

      • seanmcbride
        August 1, 2011, 4:42 pm

        I had exactly the same reaction to the SS clip. Clever, but didn’t cut very deep. Monty Pythonish in its toying with concepts, but without the energizing aggression and rage.

      • Koshiro
        August 1, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Well, I’ve looked at CYE, I’ve watched Seinfeld and a ton of other American comedy shows and I just find them profoundly unfunny. “Soft” or not.
        About the only US-produced comedy TV shows I really like are the Simpsons and Futurama. Then again, they’ve lost some steam as well.

      • Koshiro
        August 1, 2011, 4:56 pm

        Nazi grammar freak searching for Jews.

        Pretty sure that one was by

      • Citizen
        August 1, 2011, 9:16 pm

        Hah, when I wrote my earlier comment I was thinking also of Monty Python stuff as similar but I couldn’t remember the name Monty Python.

      • Citizen
        August 1, 2011, 9:25 pm

        Yeah, Koshiro, my mistake.

  48. MRW
    July 30, 2011, 3:54 pm

    It’s not satire. Or being funny. The cover may be that Larry David (or Jerry Seinfeld or Sarah Silverman for that matter) mocks everybody, so, hey, let’s give the guy break. It’s none of those things. It’s not even artful.

    It’s power. It’s a mental high heel in the eye and fuck you to the advertised in Fly-By Country. His real audiences are the 90210 and 10021 zip codes. As long as they love him, he stays on-air. Because one thing is sure, Larry David is no George Carlin; he doesn’t have the Shakespearean humanity or intellect, which Carlin had both onstage and off.

    Larry David and Seinfeld and Silverman and Portman got hyper-sensitively vigilant over one-night drunken slurs by Mel Gibson or John Galliano. (Or that LA comedian who never worked again after one night of anti-Semitic jokes.) Their tender souls were so offended.

    But it’s a one-way street. Only they get to make the jokes. Only these titans of comedy get to offend everyone, and to the degree they want to, and act like hurt schoolyard bullies when they’re called on it and want their mommy and the thought police. As Pamela Geller said last week to an RT anchor who was raking her over the coals for the consequences of what she’d written about Norway and Muslims, “Hey, everyone makes jokes about religion, get over it.” But not Judaism, Pamela.

    I’m not even a Christian, but I found this offensive. Silverman:
    link to
    Because what Silverman is really saying is no different than this; she’s no Carlin, or Lenny Bruce, either. You need real humanity to be the latter two.
    link to

    • eljay
      July 30, 2011, 4:24 pm

      >> Because what Silverman is really saying is no different than this …
      >> link to

      Poor, hateful Zio-supremacist. See what “dissent” has done to him? :-(

    • andrew r
      July 31, 2011, 3:36 am

      Silverman doesn’t even merit offensive. She’s just incredibly tedious and unfunny.

      I don’t see humor as the kind of medium for making people aware of the occupation; how many late-night TV viewers are going to start caring about Palestine because of some half-hearted mention on Comedy Central? So it’s pretty assholish to use the subject as gag fodder.

      This is like an Israeli sitcom called ‘Arab Labor’ which spoofs relations between Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel. One episode has a Jewish guy and Palestinian lady in a quaint argument about the occupation.

    • Citizen
      July 31, 2011, 9:45 am

      Silverman is an infant. Her whole schtik was made making light of the Holocaust victims. If she were a goy doing the same thing nobody would even know who she is. Lately, on Twitter, she seems obsessed with her doggie’s bung hole.

  49. Hanna
    July 30, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Maybe Phil should ask him if he is being ironic. If he says “yes”, Phil could volunteer to help edit his future programs to better get his point across and to improve the humor component.

  50. Hanna
    July 30, 2011, 7:43 pm

    I watched a few more clips from the episode on youtube. He is trying to be funny. The episode is set in the U.S., not in Israel. He relates to the Palestinian-Jewish conflict in a typically American Jewish fashion — repeating by rote the knee-jerk phrases indicating that the Palestinians are out to get him, but it isn’t very real to him. The Palestinians are portrayed less negatively than the Jews.

    I think it would have been funnier if the Palestinian woman were closer to his age. He is 64. Picture him flirting with a cute, flirtatious, motherly widowed Palestinian restaurant owner, serving him chicken soup. He appreciates her company more than he cares about the ethnic hostilities. That might have fallen less flat.

  51. biorabbi
    July 30, 2011, 10:19 pm

    I was initially quite upset by the untold horrors committed against my people by organized Catholicism from Castile, but then I saw this clip:

    link to

    Curb your Enthusiasm gets the full treatment here? Who’se next… Sami Davis Jr… take my wife.

    • Citizen
      July 31, 2011, 9:52 am

      Hey, biorabbi, you should see the youtube skit “The Israeli Inquistion.” It’s hilarious; the characters hanging on the wall are native Palestinians. The dancing squad is an IDF troop, rather than a bunch of papal clerics.

      No, next up here is not Sami Davis Jr, but Sarah Silverman…take my life.

      • biorabbi
        July 31, 2011, 1:04 pm

        Brooks also has repeatedly mocked Hitler and his invasion of Europe. While there is nothing funny about “Palestinians hanging on the wall” as you put it, I’m sure some sick bastard may indeed try to find the humor in it. Perhaps not as Brooks did, but in the manner David did, by showing the neurotic assumptions of American Jews and how they view arabs as out to get them.

        Can you mock the murder in Syria? Hundreds today and counting? Unless you are a sick bastard, you cannot. Yet there is something weird and bizarre in the way Assad laughs, like a crazed devil and I’m certain Syrians will one day mock the personal habits of Assad, but not for many, many years. Time has to pass.

        I still don’t get why David is even being attacked here. He’s making Jews look like neurotic idiots for their cultural assumptions. The sex scene is over the top but what humor isn’t? I find it quite interesting that what attracts the most comments and, indeed, passion here is Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Aside from Israel, Palestine, Jews, and Arabs, he also attacks victims of sexual abuse. Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict special that humor cannot be found? If you can make fun out of Hitler, the civil war or even slavery, why not Jews eating Palestinian chicken? Three words, citizen, freedom of speech. Judas, did you order the corned beef?

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2011, 8:32 pm

        Hey, I wouldn’t ban any comedy show anywhere. So I don’t need a lecture on it. That doesn’t mean I can’t criticize any comedy show. Three words: freedom of speech. I’ve heard the Arabs have some comedy shows of their own about the I-P conflict, so obviously humor can be found from that source too.

      • Citizen
        July 31, 2011, 8:37 pm

        Judas, did you order the corned beef?
        Here ya go, and here’s your bill.
        JeezazCriist, 30 pieces of silver?
        That includes tax. Prices are going up, ya know.
        I shoulda ordered the ham n cheese.

  52. thankgodimatheist
    July 30, 2011, 10:43 pm

    What? You mean this isn’t satire?

  53. eGuard
    July 31, 2011, 9:21 am

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