Sh*t the David Project says about Israel

About a week ago the David Project co-produced a video, where a full cast of unpaid college students parodied the newest cannon of viral YouTube videos with “Sh*t people say about Israel.”  The video depicts “college students” making generalizations about Israel, or asking naive questions, and closes with a standard hasbara line: Israel wants peace. 

In the video, one brunette co-ed says, “I heard everyone there is in the army.” Then, twirling her hair follows up with “are you in the army?”  Another sits with a friend eating from a Sabra container and asks, “is it Hamas or hummus?”  Later, what appears to be a student giving a presentation in class says, “Israel uses disproportionate force against the Palestinians,” backed with a clip of, “Jews have no connection to the land of Israel.” 

The purpose behind the statements and questions in the video is to demonstrate that people who support the Palestinian cause, are uninformed on Israel, its society and politics.  At the end, the video concludes with a bunch of clips where confused looking people say “you mean Palestine?” and then the punchline:

‘No, we mean Israel. Because Israel wants peace. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Jews have been in Israel for over 3,000 years. Israel wants peace. Hamas doesn’t want peace. Peace, peace, peace, peace.’

Last fall the David Project created a department that trains college students in multimedia production.  The program, Israel Video Advocacy Project was held in November in Baltimore, MD, where the hasbara group brought sixteen students together for a crash course in production.  Dubbed as “video advocacy” in order to “create a positive atmosphere towards Israel on campus,” the David Project also provided each participant with “a flip camera and a USB wrist-band loaded with video-specific links and resources, as well as general Israel campus advocacy information.” 

The program is in its pilot year, and “Sh*t people say about Israel” is the first video. (For a double-whammy of sexism and hasbara, check out “Shit Girls Say (Taglit Birthright Israel Parody.”

Post-racial racism

In early January comedian Franchesca Ramsey created the online video genre that “Sh*t people say about Israel” models.  She produced what Colorlines calls a “popular and critical examination of race,” through her video “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls.”  In the short, Ramsey, clad in a blond wig uses a voice that pitches the perfect imitation of “not trying to be racist” and being very racist, while asking a series of naive questions to the camera. What makes the video funny is that the perspective is from a black spectator and mocks the notion of a “post-racial” society.

People loved the videos and in days over a million viewed it.  Young people also started making their own, which reflected their particular experience.  “Shit white girls say…to Arabs,” reflecting growing Islamophobia and Orientalist attitudes, “Shit White Girls Say… To Brown (Desi/Indian) Girls,” reflecting widespread appropriation of Indian culture. 

Though, not all of the videos engage in a constructive discussion of race and gender.  In addition to the videos above, a series of well-made “Shit girls say” videos hit it big online, however in this series men dressed up as women, and depicted women as annoying, insecure and self-obsessed. As Samhita Mukhopadhyay writes at Feministling these videos further gender stereotypes rather than deconstruct them. 

If Ramsey’s video is to explore the gaze of the oppressed, a more apropos video would be called, “Sh*t Zionists say to Palestinians.”  However, no one has made that video yet.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.
Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics

{ 16 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Ha ha, that is one of the worst produced, inaudible amateurish pieces of junk video I have see for a while. This is the best propaganda you can come up with? A few random jerks saying Israel ‘wants peace’ is an argument? Or making false claims about being a democracy, let alone the ‘only’ one? What was that recent article about right wingers being stupid – this video is trying to provide the evidence apparently.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      What’s sad is that Israel has to pay money to actually make its propaganda / “funny videos.” The actually funny videos? Are made by clever people for free.

  2. Dan Crowther says:

    thats some pretty weak sauce from the hasbara patrol

    sort of a weird turn at the end though – not sure how a feminist critique of “sht people say” videos gets the attention of deger, unless its to call mimic the call of the feminists, but in regards to the entire enterprise; but she doesnt seem to be saying that ramsey’s videos also perpetuate stereotypes – and I wouldn’t agree with her if she did.

  3. this article is very entertaining on many fronts. i am completely behind the times wrt the current themes sweeping the internet and this whole shit girls say thing just flew right past me. some fascinating links in there that provide context wrt the hasbrats trying to get into the swing of things and what a flop is all i can say.

    , a more apropos video would be called, “Sh*t Zionist say to Palestinians.” However, no one has made that video yet.

    well someone definitely should and there’s an excellent blog called ‘shit liberal zionists say’ that could be mined for such a video:

    link to shitliberalzionistssay.tumblr.com

    someone should do it!

    thanks allison, it’s really fun having someone young and ‘in the know’ to breakdown these social phenomenons for us dinosaurs around here (assuming i’m not the only one). of course i had no idea when i started following ‘shit liberal zionists say’ on twitter it was a take off on the 8 million plus video sweeping the blogosphere.

  4. Hostage says:

    a more apropos video would be called, “Sh*t Zionist say to Palestinians.” However, no one has made that video yet.

    See All Your Base Are Belong To Us
    *In A.D. 2101 war was beginning;
    *Someone set us up the bomb;
    *What happen?;
    *All your base are belong to us;
    *You have no chance to survive make your time;
    *Israel are refuse to accept the Quartet Road Map (see the Government of Israel’s two resolutions A & B and 14 reservations);
    *We won’t accept Palestinian government Hamas participates, unless:
    A) acknowledges Israel’s right to exist;
    B) Hamas also agree Quartet committee’s conditions. link to english.pnn.ps

  5. The “Shi* People Say…” phenomenon has produced some really interesting social commentary. I saw this video the other day: “Shi* White Girls say to Black Girls… Is Not Racist” in which the speaker breaks it down.

    “Shi* White Girls say to Black Girls” just does for white people what mass media does to black folks every day, with one very important difference. Its a joke. Its not trying to present itself as the real thing. But the media’s caricatures of blackness are trying to be the real thing. And that’s why the video’s not racist.”

  6. skidmarx says:

    “Sh*t Zionists say to Palestinians.”

    I’ll let my F-15 do the talking ?

  7. Video of “Shit Zionists say” is up!

    • man you beat me. I/P developments travel at the speed of light these days (as if a comedy video is a development :) i think facebook is helping the cause, and i think everyone knows everyone who is active…. which is also a sad statement on how few people are sincerely active for the cause of justice.

  8. link to youtube.com
    bam, there it is… even with max b.

  9. MHughes976 says:

    People who are Jewish have been in the place for 3,000 years. Well, depends what you mean by Jewish. On any definition people who are not Jewish have from time immemorial been in the same place.

  10. Hostage says:

    People who are Jewish have been in the place for 3,000 years.

    Well then, the mythical sages went to great lengths to lie about the literal fulfillment of the prophecy that Jerusalem had become completely desolate and they invented a story about the foxes using the grounds around the old Holy of Holies for their dens. Who am I supposed to believe, you or the Midrash contained in Makkoth 24b? link to halakhah.com

    • tree says:

      The actual quote was “Jews have been in Israel for over 3,000 years. ”

      Its really only been 64 years. It just seeeemmms like 3000 years.

      • Hostage says:

        Its really only been 64 years. It just seeeemmms like 3000 years.

        LOL! I’ll say. I was just poking fun at the twin myths about the total Jewish exile from Aelia Capitolina and the 3,000 year-long continuous Jewish presence there.

        • tree says:

          I was just poking fun at the twin myths about the total Jewish exile from Aelia Capitolina and the 3,000 year-long continuous Jewish presence there.

          Yeah, amazing isn’t it? Kind of like the twin ideas that all Jews “long for Zion” but they only came to Israel because they all fled or were expelled from other countries. Or the twin ideas that an ethnicity needs to be in the majority to not be mistreated ( or to “self-determine”), but minorities in Israel are exceptions to the rule Two contradictory ideas seem to fit into Zionist ideology quite often. You’d think the cognitive dissonance would be overwhelming.

      • MHughes976 says:

        Not often you get a good joke in this grim discussion, especially when Mooser is resting. Thanks, tree.
        I’ll take this opportunity to add my voice to the thanks to Hostage for so many good words in the righteous cause. I can well understand that it’s weary work but so much good is done.