Israeli-American Orit Arfa has followed up her Miley Cyrus pro-settler anthem (parody?) “Jews Can’t Stop” with “Gaza Wrecking Ball.” Filmed in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a pantsless Arfa portrays an uprooted Gaza settler knocking rubble from a demolished house, a pantsless Israeli Defense Forces soldier, and a pantsless Palestinian sporting a bra-top made from a tied kefiyyeh. And like the former Disney starlet, the settler siren licks a metal chain while straddling a wrecking ball.
We saw the rockets in the sky.
And now, thousands coming down,
it never turned, our temples burned.
And now, dead bodies on the ground.
Don’t you ever say we should’ve walked away.
We will always want home.
A world so full of lies, who cares ’bout our lives.
We will always want home.
They came in with a wrecking ball.
Tore down our homes and all our walls.
All we wanted was to build a home.
All they ever did was hate us.
Arfa, a one-time Zionist Organization of America employee who was fired in 2012 after whistle blowing that the group had lost its tax-exempt status, went after Ariel Sharon in comments on the video to the Jewish Journal. “As with many Israeli leaders, Ariel Sharon had a tendency towards Jewish dictatorship,” she said.
As people awaited my follow-up to my Miley Cyrus parody, “Jews Can’t Stop,” I didn’t imagine that Ariel Sharon would die right before the release of “Gaza Wrecking Ball.” But it’s the perfect time to make sure the Gaza failure is discussed critically and that free speech will be one of the major values that Ariel Sharon, in his victories, failures, life and death, kept intact.
Arfa is a bit of a unique pro-settler voice in that she’s secular, overtly sexual—although “Gaza Wrecking Ball” is about as nonsensual as Cyrus’s original– and she’s penned an op-ed for +972 Magazine decrying the occupation, sort of:
I care less about living in Israel or Palestine and more about living in a country that allows me the most freedom to be who I am, to start a new business, to purchase property (in Ariel or even Nablus), to express myself — whether as a religious Jew, a heretic, a Buddhist, a Christian, a slut or a saint. A state should enable the best of its citizens to flower — not the other way around — guarding them against murder, theft, fraud and any other assault.
If that’s anti-Zionist, ask American Zionists why they don’t move here.
Arfa’s play off of the disengagement of Gaza may seem about 10 years out of touch. But it’s worth noting that she’s noting it, now. Arfa doesn’t care about the Green Line, she doesn’t care about negotiations other than they may threaten the expansion of West Bank settlements, and she doesn’t care if Palestinians continue to live in villages neighboring her community, Ariel. She’s not interested in Lieberman’s transfer plan, nor does she give much latitude to Israeli politicians in general. Arfa sees herself as the nation, the pioneer, and not bound by the rules of elected officials, which she seemingly symbolically challenges by singing in her underwear; she breaks a social taboo as metaphor for wanting to break a political taboo, namely supporting the one time settler movement in Gaza.
For Arfa and others on the extreme-right, Gush Katif was more than just 9,000 Israelis living over the western Green Line. Lamenting its loss means a commitment to “Greater Israel” over anything else, even the state and pro-settler parties. If Arfa is representative of a trend, it’s that Israel’s hard right is moving within its own cultural framework, and constructing its own aesthetics of the borderless Jewish nation.